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!

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

It was great to see that last week’s column was so well received, and although I would not have know where this photo (at right and in larger size below) was taken without having been provided the details, many readers recognized it immediately.

Rick Liftig was the first to comment on the article, and although (like me), he didn’t know where the photo was taken, he did confirm that Steve Liftig is his cousin, and also provided the information that Ralph Perkins, the teacher in the previously posted photo of a Sedgwick classroom, was the father of Abby Perkins who works at the Noah Webster House!

“Anne” commented next, and knew where the photo was taken: “This week’s historic picture is of the Beachland Park pool and poolhouse structures in Elmwood. It looks just like it did when I was a kid growing up in Elmwood and spending most days of any summer hanging out at the park and swimming in the pool. That would have been in the 1950s or early 60s.”

“Is that one of the town pools, maybe at Beachland Park?” added Greg Book.

Dozens added their comments on Facebook, either on the We-Ha.com Facebook page or in one of the groups where the column was shared. The photo was undated but the guess of the 50s or 60s seems to be correct and many shared memories of long ago summers at the pool.

“I think it was $ 6 for a family season pass. At night you didn’t need a pass you just jumped the fence. Beachland Park,” commented Gary Larkum.

Nancy Roberts Winterbottom wrote: “Beachland? I think that little shed was the ticket booth, where I waited in line on many, many summer days. I think swim sessions were an hour long, and season pass holders were entitled to two tickets per day.” She added that when she was just 7 she and her sister used to walk there from South Quaker Lane.

“Grandfolks Cool” (in quotations because I am not sure that is a real name!) shared some great memories of Beachland Park: “Stood in line there many a hot summer day. We would walk over from the corner of New Park and Prospect. Several kids together. Yes, I said we walked. Dad took the one car to work at Wiremold in Elmwood. Ten cents an hour to swim. Imagine, our mother could not call us on a cell phone. There was only one phone and it stayed home on a table. My grandparents bought the house on New Park and managed to hang on to it through the depression. New Park was a dirt road with a trolley car down the middle. Growing up, we had birthday parties at home, dad came home for lunch, we went to church on Sunday and played outside all day. No cable, no computer, and not much money. Glad I grew up then and not now. It was not perfect by any means, but it was fun.”

Marion Daly added the following: “This is almost a trick question since the pool house at Beachland and Fernridge were almost identical with one exception. At Fern, the boys’ side was on the left, with the girls’ side was on the right. The reverse was true at Beachland. The giveaway is that the ticket booth at Beachland was a free-standing structure, while at Fern it was part of the pool house itself.”

And some memories from Isabelle Kuzoian: “We had a season family pass which included two hours of swimming per day. Our parents made out since we had 8 kids in the family. Went swimming almost every day, did arts and crafts too. Anyone remember Doug Morrison at the arts and crafts and sports programs. We were all so sad when he left to become a priest. This was in the 50s.”

“Only $0.10 for an hour of swimming. Remember stepping in a black rubber tray of cloudy bleach and water before entering the pool?” commented Lonni Bos.

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

This week’s photo (at right and in larger size below as well as at the top of this column) goes quite a ways further back in West Hartford’s history.

Who knows where this photo was taken?

When was this photo taken?

What was this building?

What is in this location now?

Please share your memories below.

Thank you to 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 at www.noahwebsterhouse.org for more information about membership and programs.

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Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Beachland Park Pool. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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  • I see trolley rails, so my guess is very general. I’m thinking somewhere along Farmington Avenue or Park Road. As far as specific details, I have no idea.

  • It looks like a public building with residence above, possibly a store on a main, trolley street. A delivery cart in the front and a community bulletin board at the entrance with a bucle resting on the side residence porch. With dirt road estimate that time period would be turn of last century. No wire for trolley so vehicle would have been horse drawn.

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