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!

“Friday Flashback” seems to be turning into a regular feature. 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) was quickly – and correctly – identified by many of our readers.

“Farmington Ave looking east from the area that would most likely have been Howard Johnson’s parking lot at Lancaster Rd. now the Butterfly,” commented Dave Gabriele.

“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,” added Giovanni Seccareccia.

“Farmington Ave and Quaker Lane. Looks similar today!!,” commented Ricky Ross.

Tracey Wilson, who serves as town historian, added the following: “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,” commented Katherine Doyle.

Many readers added their comments on Facebook – and virtually all correctly identified this location.

Eddie S. Hohl Jr. said he used to deliver the Hartford Times to those apartments.

Sandra Subach knew exactly where this was: “That’s 810 Farmington Ave. I used to have an apt there:)”

No one guessed the year the photo was taken, but the apartments were built in the 1920s. Based on the cars, this photo was probably taken not long after that.

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

This week’s image (at right and in larger size below) was inspired by a conversation I had with some friends on Super Bowl Sunday about this very bowling alley.

Where was the bowling alley?

What is there now?

When was this photo taken?

Where were some of the other bowling alleys in West Hartford?

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 near intersection with Quaker Lane. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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  • Bishops Corner Plaza in the rear parking lot across from the post office. Dino’s used to be just to the right of this photo.

    • I live in this neighborhood now. When I was much younger, my late dad would bring me to Dino’s often..It was my favorite pasta place EVER I remember the thick spaghetti, the extra large pasta,; and large, superb tasting meatballs and spaghetti sauce..It was like it was just yesterday! My dad, who was a lawyer,knew the owners of Dino’s and helped draw up the paperwork, to open up Dino’s….So every time I think about it, it really brings back very special memories Thank you, for bring this memory back!!

  • Used to go to this bowling alley and Dino’s as a kid, good times. Dino’s had the best ham-and-pepper-and-crusty-French-bread grinders. Looks like late 60’s here or so. 1969 or 70, based on the jalopy on the left, right out of “Animal House”. There was also a bowling alley in the basement of one of the buildings on the west side of LaSalle Rd. There were/are also 4 duckpin lanes in the basement of the Hartford Golf Club clubhouse.

  • Regarding other bowling alleys in WH, I remember going to one beneath what is now Starbucks on LaSalle Rd shortly after moving here in 1984…was it under Colonial Hardware? Don’t know what happened to it.

  • The bowling alley also had a pool table and was a popular place to shoot pool for some high school kids (primarily NWC). At least from 1965 to 1969.

  • Other than the Bishops Corner Bowling Alley, there was one on Lasalle Road next to where Murasaki is now, but it was down in the basement level. Also Viking Lanes was in the rear entrance and downstairs of the old Bazilian’s Store on Park Road.

  • Rumor has it that the bowling alley is still under Starbucks (then Colonial Hardware)and is-was used as storage. Sub-Urban myth?
    Lots of good times with my now husband , Doug, and his brothers at the duckpin bowling in Bishop’s Corner. It later became a Tuesday Morning store that is gone now. As a kid, Dino’s was my first taste of exotic, foreign food other than the South Seas in the early ’60s! Many thanks for moving us away from meatloaf! Somewhere in the mid-late ’60s, Jupiters (who actually fronted up above facing Main Street, near the A&P) became one of the first Pier One stores.

  • The duck pin bowling alley at Bishop’s Corner was named Crossroads Bowling Plaza and was owned by a guy from the south end of Hartford named Don LaCroix. During the 1970’s Don ran for State Senate on several occasions but never won the election. We spent many hours in there during the early and mid-1970’s.

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