Strawbelly Hill_detail_2toneLBC

The first in a series of portraits of landmark Lancaster architecture, well-known or not….

The Strawberry Hill Grocery, aka Mamta Grocery Store, stands sentinel at the crest of Strawberry Street before its long plunge down Cabbage Hill towards the old Conestoga Steam Mills.  It is an especially exhuberant example of that most enduring of neighborhood institutions– the corner grocery.  Built in the mid-1890s as an odd Chateauesque flourish anchoring a ten-unit rowhouse development, the corner has remained a grocery of one sort or another ever since.  The widow Catharine St. Clair kept a store here in 1899, as did three generations of the Stauffer family (though not of the Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill fame) in the waxing twentieth century.  The ensuing years brought a formstone skin and asphalt shingles, though its slate-roofed turret survives unscathed.  Now tattooed with ads for cigarettes and iced tea, Coca-Cola and ice cream bars, the building nevertheless maintains a perseverant dignity.  Today’s storekeepers are Indian immigrants (Mamta, I am told, means “motherly love”) who bemoan their long days behind the counter surrounded by Cheetoes, Newports and Slim Jims, and who stoically keep a small bin of fresh vegetables for sale.  They report that they are strict vegetarians (no meat, no chicken, no candy) who want more time to cook and to sleep.

Name: Strawberry Hill Grocery

Address: 100-102 West Strawberry Street

Built: c. 1895

Architect: Unknown