West Hartford’s ‘Thursday Throwback’

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Test your knowledge of West Hartford history with this ‘Thursday Throwback,’ courtesy of West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle and the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society.

By Ronni Newton

It’s Throwback Thursday (#tbt), and 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!

As there has been for the past several weeks, this week there is an extra name in the credit for this week’s historical photo. Town Manager Ron Van Winkle came across a stash of historical photos in his office, and graciously offered to share them with us as well as the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society.

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

The location of last week’s photo (at right and in larger size below) was fairly obvious, but it was a really interesting image with lots of detail. And it’s interesting to see what has changed and to try to remember what businesses have been located in all of the locations pictured.

We also got some comments from a few new folks, which is great!

“The two of the three structures on the right of this photo still stand at its location. The one in the middle of the two no longer exist,” commented Roger Augusto.

“West Hartford center on Farmington at South Main on left side,” wrote “Carl.”

Dave Roones and Sheila MacGregor identified the building on the right that’s no longer there, as the First Baptist Church, now located at 90 North Main St.

Kris Hanko added some detail about the church: “The church in this photograph is First Baptist Church, standing at its original location, on the north side of Farmington Avenue. The church opened at this location on February 3, 1859. In early 1937, the church was offered $70,000 for the property. The church then moved to its current location, 90 North Main Street, which was dedicated on October 31, 1937.”

Most of those who commented on Facebook also correctly identified the intersection, although some were stumped by the presence of the church building which no longer stands there.

Close-up of signs in the Oct. 6, 2016 throwback image.

Close-up of signs in the Oct. 6, 2016 throwback image.

Mitchell Chester asked if anyone could read the sign in the lower righthand corner, and Jean Merritt Linderman correctly said that it provided directions to the American School for the Deaf. There’s also another directional sign in the photo, but even though I scanned the image at the highest possible resolution, it’s tough to read the small signs. At right is a close-up of those signs with the detail visible.

Guesses about the date of the photo were mainly 1920s and 1930s. The image is undated, but based on the stack of other photos that it was stored with, this photo was likely taken in the late 1920s.

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

This week’s photo (at right and in larger size below) is of a building many will likely remember.

Where was this building located?

What was located in this building?

What is in this space now?

When was the building in the image replaced?

Please share your memories below.

Thank you to Town Manger Ron Van Winkle, and 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 at www.noahwebsterhouse.org for more information about membership and programs.

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Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Farmington Avenue and North/South Main Street intersection, c. late 1920s. Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

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  • For last week’s photo, the sign names in order from top to bottom are:
    New Britain

  • The directional signs in the lower left hand corner of last week’s picture point from top to bottom: Newington, Simsbury, Bloomfield, Granby.

  • It’s the Masonic Temple on South Main in the Center. Of course, it was recently torn down and an apartment building put in its place. I find it interesting that it is standing alone without the two bracketing buildings. I’ll guess twenties or thirties for the picture. Is this the location of Burnham’s Store?

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