West Hartford's 'Friday Flashback'

Test your knowledge of West Hartford history with this ‘Friday Flashback,’ courtesy of the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society.

By Ronni Newton

It’s time to take a look back into West Hartford’s past to either stir up some memories, reflect on how much things have changed, or both. And if you have no idea, we love the photo captions, too!

I’m kind of liking the “Friday Flashback”! We will probably go back to Throwback Thursday, but it’s good (for me, anyway) to be able to mix it up especially if there has been a busy news week.

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

Last week’s photo (at right and in larger size below), as expected, took a lot of our readers on a walk down memory lane.

This was quite obviously Farmington Avenue in West Hartford Center, looking east from the intersection with LaSalle Road, and many recalled the businesses that have occupied those storefronts over the years. There are too many comments so not all can be printed, but here are some highlights.

As for the year the photo was taken, the best we can determine is that it was the late 1930s.

“The package store was once Hilliard’s Candies shortly after the package store left the location,” wrote Giovanni Seccareccia, the first to comment directly on the article.

“Corner of Farmington and LaSalle looking east. All the cars pictured are pre-war style bodies and I see at least one that’s older than the 30’s, so my guess would be early 30’s on the year. What’s cool is that the south side (right on the photo) corner building looks almost identical today! The north side – not so much,” commented Pat McCarthy, also directly on the article.

Many of our readers posted their comments on Facebook.

Lots have come and gone … Bennetts on corner … hilliards …youth centre… lcr …,” commented Jaime Waldman Seltzer. 

“Bennet’s card shop, Hillards, Sage Allen, bakery can’t think of the name,” commented Lonnie Marino, to which Thomas Newton responded, “Khroners Bakery, late 30’s. Church burned in 42-43 I believe.”

Jeff Murray provided some details about the church in the photo: “The church you’re seeing is the old Baptist Church, which faced south toward Farmington Avenue. The current Baptist Church on North Main Street was built in 1937. This Baptist Church you’re seeing in the photograph was torn down and Maxwell Drug was built in 1946.”

Sandy DeMarco also recalled these businesses: “A&P, Post Office, both hardware stores maybe, Dougherty Drug (probably not), that barber shop on LaSalle Rd., and all 3 bakeries.”

“In the rear-right portion of the photo where it looks like there’s a car on the sidewalk, that was a gasoline station,” commented an eagle-eyed Mitchell Chester.

Joanne Smith recalled: “Kronhers Bakery, Hillyard Candies … Sage-Allen … on the other side, Pfaus, coffee Cup (diner) WF Powers men’s store,Five & Ten and up a little way Central Theater and deli.”

“There were two bakeries: Krohners and Lorraine’s. Krohners was my favorite because of their Dutch Apple Cake. Yuummmmmmmmmmm,” added Don Reder. Sandy DeMarco said she loved the butterscotch cookies from one of the bakeries.

Chris Prendergast recalled the plate-sized pancakes at Maple Hill.

Here’s a vivid memory from Linda Gordon Wurzel: “The facade looks the same, but Bennett’s Card and Candy’s Grand Openings was on the day John F Kennedy died, November 22, 1963. When we stopped there on the way home from school (Conard ’65), besides Bennett and his staff, Bennett’s daughter, Nicki, and I, were the only people there. Everyone else was glued to their televisions! We only stayed a few minutes and went home to do the same.”

Barbara Gerard recalled, “My grandfather owned a lady’s dress shop named Carolyn’s, after Carolyn Kennedy. 2 doors down from Hilliards. It was there from around 1960 or 61 until the mid to late 70s.”

And finally, this “sweet” memory from Paul Shipman: “Farmington Ave. at Lasalle Rd. I remember Bennett’s on the corner and Hilliard’s candy east of that. Both are candy-related and therefore the only things I remember 🙂 By the look of it, we’re talking the late 1930s.”

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

This week’s photo (at right and in larger size below) is of a block of West Hartford that may or may not be easily recognizable to our readers.

Who knows where this is?

What is in this location now?

When was this photo taken?

Please share your memories below.

Thank you to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society for providing us with the images. They are always looking for new images to add to the collection. Visit their website atwww.noahwebsterhouse.org for more information about membership and programs.

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Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

Farmington Avenue looking east from intersection with LaSalle Road. 1930s. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

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  • Farmington Ave looking east from the area that would most likely have been Howard Jonson’s parking lot at Lancaster Rd. now the Butterfly

  • Looking East on Farmington Avenue at the corner of the North & South Quaker Lane intersection. Today, AAA is just to the right in this photo.

  • Do you think the trolley line is still there? These apartments were built without places to keep cars which Became a problem as more renters owned cars. Certainly they must have housed many of the women who worked in the burgeoning insurance industry downtown. This marks the second phase of suburbanization on Farmington Ave after the grand mansions to the west that came before and during the trolley era.

  • I agree, probably taken from Howard Johnson’s parking lot looking East. Directly across Farmington Ave was the West Hartford Armory that housed horses at one time and was later a venue for antique shows, etc.; now medical offices. The lighter colored apartments on the left, called Georgian Court, housed some of my school friends.

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