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 have turned into a regular feature!

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 certainly a popular one, and brought back many memories. Special thanks to Sharon Brewer and Janet Pierce for mentioning the existence of this bowling alley on Super Bowl Sunday, because until then I had never heard about it! Janet said her mother bowled in a league there when she was about 5 years old, and that the owners name was Don.

Readers remembered not only the bowling alley (and added memories of other bowling alleys that once existed in West Hartford), but also many other businesses that occupied Crossroads Plaza “back in the day.”

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,” commented Giovanni Seccareccia. He also named some other bowling alleys that existed in West Hartford’s past: “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.”

I don’t remember the dry cleaners. It looks like the space that became Goldstein’s Deli, which was to the left of Dino’s,” added Jeff Ross.

Len Apter shared some firsthand memories: “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!!”

Crossroads Plaza behind Mooyah Burger. This must have been before Mayron’s bakery and the pizza shop,” commented Lisa Curran.

Robert Farr also had some firsthand memories of the businesses in Crossroads Plaza, and of some other bowling alleys: “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.”

Monica Rockefeller added, “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.”

According to Bill Gleason, the bowling alley in this photo “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.”

“Rumor has it that the bowling alley is still under Starbucks (then Colonial Hardware)and is-was used as storage. Sub-Urban myth?” commented Liz Gillette. “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.”

There were so many comments on Facebook – nearly 100 altogether – so it’s impossible to share them all. Many of those comments were from people who had lost touch and found each other through the Facebook post. Love it when that happens!

Some other fun memories that readers shared were:

“Don’t forget Goldsteins Deli, Paul’s Shoe repair, Myrons Bakery were also in that building,” commented John Maloney.

Erica Rabinovitch Smith-Rapaport said that her parents owned Goldsteins Deli: “They took it over in the early 70s and bought the bakery and merged it with Goldsteins. I loved those years. We played at Paul and paula’s, the dry cleaner, the bowling alley, and Dinos.”

“There was also a cute little store called the China Closet where many Mothers Day gifts were purchased,” added Laura Marks.

Lyne Stokes said the bowling alley on LaSalle still exists, but has extensive water damage. She also weighed in on the debate about the name of Bishops Corner and this shopping center, which is called Crossroads Plaza but is located in the Bishops Corner neighborhood. “It’s been called Bishops Corner since 1842 when Joseph Bishops bought and farmed the land. A realty company named that plaza Crossroads plaza in the early 1980’s. I love West Hartford history. I have an original map of that corner on my living room wall.”

“Lyne, when I was a boy in the early 60’s we called it “crossroads”. I had my 7th, 8th, and 9th birthday parties at the “crossroads ducking bowling alley” as my mom called it,” added David Shapiro.

Sue Ellen Thompson had a few additional details and memories: “Crossroads Plaza. Loved the Duckpin bowling, Dino’s Pizza, Goldstein’s Deli and the great yarn shop (can’t remember its name). On the other side of the building was Harmac’s men’s clothing, Society for Savings, the Avroch’s girls’ shop (forgot that name, too) Maxwell’s Drugs and Grand Union supermarket. Wow, brings back so many memories!”

Thomas Newton named the bowling alley on Park Road: “Viking Lanes basement of Bazillians.”

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) should also spur some memories.

Who knows where this was?

When was this photo taken?

What businesses have occupied these storefronts and what occupies these spaces today?

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

Crossroads Plaza in Bishops Corner, 1960s. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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  • My first real job was at the Toy Chest with Mr. Schlien (sp?) It turned into Val’s frozen yogurt when they moved across the street into the old Youth Center clothes store.It then turned into the Elbow room. The Toy Chest always had the best selection of Barbie clothes, my weakness. Creative Playtime, the other toy store, was on LaSalle, but it was really crowded and up to the ceiling with new and old, dusty toys. The owner scared the pants off me as a kid. Lorraine’s had the most delicious chocolate eclairs!

  • P.S. Very, VERY, best best thoughts and prayers for Tracey Wilson, frequent contributor, and Town Historian, in this time of trial. Very warmest thoughts and we’ll hear from you soon! Liz

  • Lorraines had the best seven layer cake. The store was on Farmington ave, not far from Lasalle Road on the north side of the street. I haven’l lived there for 50 years so I don’t know what followed it.

  • When Toy Chest was where …I think Elbow Room is now??…anyway they had the best Barbie clothes, and every year I would drag my Grandma there and show her what I wanted. One year my little sister wanted n elephant stuffed animal, so I ‘hid’ it at the bottom of a pile toys until I could save enough money to get it for her for Christmas…and to my delight it was where I hid it weeks later ..I was thrilled.:looking back, someone must have seen me and made sure it was there for a while..

  • The Toy Chest was a terrific place when you were a child. The man who owned it (I can still see his face in my memory) was kind and understanding to all kids who wanted to come in and play with every toy they could get their hands on.

  • I worked at the Toy Chest when I went to Hall High School (1957-59. The owners were Morris Schlein and his wife Eleanor. I can remember selling Barbie dolls for $2.98 each. One of our best customers was Katherine Hepburn, who had a home on Bloomfield Avenue, who sent loads of toys at every holiday to her nieces and nephews. WEnt off to BU, but came back to West Hartford for my last two years at Univ. of Hartford, and went back to work for Mr. Schlein, and did the billing and the books. Charlie was his ‘manager’, and Anne Simons ran the baby furniture department. Lots of great memories of West Hartford Center in the late 50s.

  • My grandparents Gus and Grace Goldstein owned and operated Goldstein’s Deli ..I have been on a search for anything about them for a long time now and this is a welcome sight to see their name mentioned.

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