Crawford’s Market opened in 1937 in El Monte at Five Points on the corner of Valley and Garvey. They called it “The Biggest Little Country Store!” Everyone in the San Gabriel valley came to Crawford’s for their fresh produce, dairy and meat. The store was owned by Leemoria Barbara and Wayland Howard Crawford. The Crawford’s started out in Los Angeles with a store and a vegetable stand in the City of Bell. The couple found out soon that the inland valley was better suited for a big market so they opened a chain of stores from Alhambra, Montebello, El Monte and Rosemead. The El Monte Store had a Van de Kamp’s bakery with the women wearing those weird hats.
The stores would have a snack bar, a barber shop, jewelry store, shoe repair and even an ice cream stand under one roof. The stores would hold events such as pancake breakfasst, Easter Bonnet parades, Halloween Costume contests with prizes going to the best costume. Crawford’s also was deeply into returning to the community and especially to the Police departments by raising money for fallen policemen. When the local circus would come to town they were usually held at Crawford’s. At Christmas time they would hire a Santa Claus who would arrive by helicopter!
Most El Monte residents have fond memories of shopping at Crawford’s and events that happened here. Unfortunately all things do come to end and so in 1992 Crawford’s became landlords rather than owners.
Enjoy! Gary Cliser
|Back Left to Right: William, Clarence, Chuck, Ina and Ronnie|
Middle: Corrine and Sadie
Front Row: Don, WH, Eulaia and Odessa
I've been "cruising" on and off for a few years wondering if anyone would post anything about the Biggest Country Store at Five Points. It was a delight to find your site posting the Life Magazine pictures.
I grew-up on Mountain View Road a couple of blocks up from Crawford's. My dad installed the sound system for Ray Crawford. We were there for the big "Watermelon Feeds", the "Big Cheese Wheels" and the great "Wednesday Night Drawings". I even have a picture of the helicopter that brought Santa Claus one year (early 1960's).
What's great is I have some dear, older friends who worked there in the 1940's and early 1950's. They can sure tell stories about all the wonderful events that bought the community together at Crawford's: there really is a rich history.