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 Upham's Corner Market

Located at 600-618 Columbia Road, the Upham's Corner Market was built about 1920 in Classical Revival style to the design of architect Willard M. Bacon. The property is listed in the National Register. John and Paul Cifrino, who owned the market, created the first one-stop supermarket in Boston and one of the first in the United States. They stocked a variety of merchandise in their 50,000 square foot store that small retailers traditionally had sold from separate neighborhood shops. The Cifrinos did not extend credit or make deliveries, and provided clerks only at the cash registers, but they offered a wide selection of high-quality goods and easily undercut their competitors. Most revolutionary of all was their embrace of America's growing automobile culture in the 1920s: they built garage doors into the rear of the building to accommodate the delivery trucks that continuously replenished their stock and provided a large parking lot for the many customers who drove from all around Boston to shop at their popular store. The Cifrino Brothers built the Upham's Corner Market in three distinct sections, numbered as 600, 610, and 618 Columbia Road.


Preservation Revolving Fund Casebook 1999. Boston: Historic Boston Incorporated, 1999.

For a pdf version of an article on the building by Anthony Sammarco entitled Notorious Elm Farm Building Once House World's First Supermarket published in the Dorchester Community News June 29, 1990 Click here.

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Created: February 8, 2004   Modified: June 4, 2007