RECONSTRUCTING A RETAIL TRADE AREA: TUCKER'S GENERAL STORE, 1850-1860

Authors

  • Gregory S. Rose

    1. GREGORY S. ROSE (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is an Assistant Professor of Geography, Ohio State University at Marion, Marion, OH 43302. His research primarily concerns the sources of pioneer migrants to the Old Northwest, with occasional forays into the historical geography of New England.
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  • *

    The daybooks of Tucker's General Store are part of the Edward M. Natharius Collection held at the Michigan State University Archives, East Lansing, MI. The author gratefully acknowledges the time and material assistance given by Thomas M. Brooks of the Assessor's Office, Dartmouth, MA; Ruth C. Burgess, North Dartmouth, MA; and James C. Casey, Brighton, MA. The author also wishes to thank the reviewers, John Allen and Robert Mitchell; the editor, and Randy Smith and Ted Myers of Ohio State University for their encouragement and help with earlier drafts of this paper.

Abstract

This paper outlines a historical trade area reconstruction methodology using daybooks, contemporary plat maps. and manuscript censuses. From limited extant data, historical trade areas of an 1850s Massachusetts general store can be defined by patronage frequency maps and the simple Reilly's Law of Retail Gravitation model. Historical trade areas can clarify the development of retailing, customer mobility, and the role of general stores in central places and their hinterlands.

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