2018-08-17 / Community

A Window on the Past

Dyer & Jose Grocers were staple in South Portland
By Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


In front of the Dyer & Jose store are, from left to right, Charles Fremont Jose and Howard E. Dyer, joint owners of the store, and George G. Ross, who worked for them and lived in a nearby house. (Courtesy image) In front of the Dyer & Jose store are, from left to right, Charles Fremont Jose and Howard E. Dyer, joint owners of the store, and George G. Ross, who worked for them and lived in a nearby house. (Courtesy image) The accompanying photograph originally appeared in a news story in the mid-1930s. The Dyer & Jose grocery business was located at 512 Ocean St., on the corner of Ocean and Sawyer streets. The building was first used in the 1800s by Otis L. Hannaford as his blacksmith and carriage painting shop. In the mid-1890s, C. Fremont Jose and Howard Dyer remodeled the building and opened their grocery and post office there.

According to the article, “Every night the parking space outside the store was filled with carriages. Horses waited impatiently to get home to their cribs of overflowing feed after a drive to Portland’s wharves with green peas to be shipped to Boston or New York. Most of the business was done in the evening and the lamps flickered brightly until 9:30 or 10 o’clock.”

The horse shown in the photo was named Blackbird. She was a famous racehorse in her day, having won dozens of races. She was owned by Howard Dyer and driven by J. Scott Jordan of Cape Elizabeth.

To learn more about South Portland’s history, we encourage you to visit the South Portland Historical Society’s museum at Bug Light Park. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also search for and view more than 10,000 historic images of South Portland on the society’s online museum. Link to it through www.sphistory.org.

Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo is executive director of South Portland Historical Society.

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