West Hartford’s ‘Monday Memory’

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Test your knowledge of West Hartford history with this ‘Monday Memory,’ 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!

We’re featuring a Monday Memory because we (I) missed Throwback Thursday last week but I don’t want to skip an entire week so this week there will also be a Thursday column. I do have a good excuse for missing last week’s column: I was on vacation and had completely lost track of the days of the week.

Courtesy of Ray Petersen

Last week’s image (at right and in larger size below) was one that was supplied by a reader, but I couldn’t provide the person’s name because that would have been a very obvious clue about what was in the photo.

Here’s what Ray Petersen said when he emailed me the image: “This is a picture taken of my grandfather, A.C. Petersen in front of his business at 240 Park Rd., around 1923. The 3-family house was moved around the corner onto Washington Circle, along with another one, in 1939, to make way for the new Office/Ice Cream Parlor building. The two houses are still standing on Washington Circle, and the building that was built in 1939/1940 is the one currently housing the A.C. Petersen Farms Restaurant.”  Andrew C. Petersen is the man standing to the left of center, holding the reins of one of the horses.

There were many people who correctly identified what this photo was, although I do like this alternate theory by John Hardy: “West Hartford DPW pothole patrol, early 20th century.”

And from Stephen Guillette on Facebook: “That’s a pic of the Beverly Hillbillies on their way to California.”

Some of the other guesses, posted on Facebook, included Rogerio Augusto’s comment: “It looks like a preparation or an ending to a 4th of July celebration, maybe in the vicinity of Park Rd & S.Quaker lane area.”

Eileen Bouchard wrote, “The Original Park Rd Parade 1923 two houses on Park Rd were moved up to Washington Circle.”

Other guesses included New Park Avenue and Cottage Grove Road (which isn’t in West Hartford).

The Facebook administrator for A.C. Petersen Farms posted this comment, which of course was correct: “I am pretty sure that is Andrew C Petersen with his horses on Park Road,” and Ray Petersen kindly refrained from responding when someone tagged him and asked him to verify where this was and what was in the photo.

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

The location for this week’s Monday Memory image (at right and in larger size below as well as at the top of this column) should be relatively easy to determine. 

Who knows where this photo was taken?

When was this photo taken?

What businesses do you remember in this block?

What is in this location today?

Please share your memories below.

Thank you to Ray Petersen and the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society for providing us with the images. The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is 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

Andrew C. Petersen standing in front of his business at 240 Park Rd. c. 1923. Courtesy of Ray Petersen


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  • Good one this week: intersection of LaSalle Road and Farmington Ave. The West Hartford Diner, the First National Market on the right ( which became Hammarlunds 5&10, then CVS ) Kresge’s on the left which became Pfau’s and now Larsen’s Hardware. East on Farmington Ave there was Powers Clothing, an alley, then Dougherty’s Drug store ( can you imagine that today a drug store), the Central Theater, the Clark Building and the Baptist Church ( that may be where Maxwell Drugs was). On the corner where Plimptons is Bennett’s card store moved in after Plimpton’s moved further west. Who can forget Krohner’s Bakery and Hilliard’s Candy stores. That photo brings back a lot of good memories. Saturday mornings at the Central: cartoons, westerns, Duncan yoyo contests, the center has changed.

  • That is Farmington Ave in West Hartford Center. The picture was taken from the south side facing northeast. You can see part of the Central Theater sign, and the First National is where Cosi is currently. The cars look to be from the 20’s, so I’d guess this picture was taken sometime in the late 20’s to early 30’s.

  • I’d like to add to my previous comment:
    A) picture is from early 30’s
    B) I believe Cosi’s is in the old Dougherty Drug Store because it’s on the east corner of the alley and Powers was on the west corner
    C) where i figured Maxwell Drug Store was is now a bank

  • The church in the photo is First Baptist Church, which is now at 90 No. Main Street. FBC moved to its current location in 1937. Early in 1937 an offer of $70,000 was made for the church’s property on Farmington Avenue. Our current church site was purchased from Charles A. Griswold, a senior member of our church at that time.

  • Just a tid-bit. The restaurant that became the Edelwiess, then Puerto Vallarta, then Treva, was indeed the West Hartford Diner, and it WAS a diner. The restaurants were built, expanded and updated around the diner itself – kind of like “Mike Mulligan’s Steamshovel”. Though most of the remnants are gone now, the bowed ceiling comes from that same diner.

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