LOST MANSFIELD # 18: BEEBE’S STORE, STORRS.
This dry goods and grocery store was established by Homer V. Beebe in 1897 and served the college community for over four decades. The Beebe family lived above the store. When Mr. Beebe died in 1923, his obituary in The Connecticut Campus noted that the store was also a “social center” on campus and that students will “miss the cheery greeting of their friend whom they have lost”. Following Mr. Beebe’s death, family members continued to run the store. Later it was operated by a series of other proprietors including H. A. Gillete, the Elges and finally John Fitts.
Prior to the 1950s, this store was the only nearby place where resident faculty and students could buy groceries. A free delivery service was operated in all kinds of weather and groceries were often sold “on the cuff”, a privilege that a number of people took advantage of and ran up large bills that some never paid. Shopping for other than groceries required a trip to Willimantic.
The store stood on the west side of Storrs Road (Route 195) situated across the street from where Shippee Hall is located today. After Mirror Lake was created in 1922, its southern shore was in the backyard of the Beebe Store.
This series is made possible by a Capacity Building Grant from The Last Green Valley, Inc.