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West Hartford’s ‘Thursday Throwback’

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Test your knowledge of West Hartford history with this ‘Thursday Throwback,’ courtesy of 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!

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 of a location that was fairly easy to recognize, and a streetscape that has not changed much since the photograph was taken in 1966.

“Farmington Avenue looking toward Hartford. The Mobil gas station in the background is the much discussed vacant lot that has turned into an eyesore” commented Bruce McClure.

“Farmington Ave looking East … French Dye Works still there as French Dry Cleaners … I see the Hampshire House, which we referred to as “Hartford Hospital Annex” because of the white brick,” commented Kathrine Doyle.

Pat McCarthy dated the photo based on the vehicles in the picture: “As others said – Farmington Avenue near Raymond Road. French’s is still in the same building – called French’s Cleaners now. The Chevy in the adjacent lot is a 1965 model and most others are older, so this picture is from the mid-late 60’s most likely.”

Liz Gillette added some more details: “I have read that Hampshire House was also called ‘the white elephant’ when it was being built. I believe it is actually the tallest building in West Hartford at seven stories and perhaps second only to Corporate West in foot print and mass. The pine trees that now grow up the western side and other landscaping do an amazing job of softening its impact. Taming electrical lines also matters. The picture shown is stark and unattractive, (mid-late sixties?). The businesses and functions are largely unchanged but the contrast to present day is significant. Trees! I think the billboard on to of French’s may be the only allowed, grandfathered billboard in West Hartford.”

“I do think Hampshire House is the biggest building in West Hartford, built in the mid 60s. Is the sign on the side of Quaker Diner also grandfathered? I guess that is not actually a billboard,” added Tracey Wilson.

There were also many comments about this photo posted on Facebook, and many, like this one from John Hogan, included some details about former businesses that were located along this strip: “The French Dry Cleaners was on the south side of Farmington Ave. just before South Main. On the west side was an appliance store , and The Toddle House, now gone, just to the east of it. Having moved to Fl. In ’78, I am not sure of the replacements.”

“No more Toddle house. Jefferson Lab is now there. And that ugly empty space where the Mobil station was. Need to address that!!” commented Lonnie Marino.

“The Steak and Egg Kitchen after the bars closed. Mmmmm,” commented Mitchell Chester. “Steak and Egg Kitchen is now Jefferson X-Ray – I refer to it as Steak and Egg X-Ray!” added Linda Montano Levere.

There were also a few comments from former employees of the Guthrie Mobil and French Cleaners.

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Who remembers when a car wash cost 25 cents? That’s the price shown in this week’s photo (at right and in larger size below).

Where was this photo taken?

When was this photo taken?

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. 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 looking east toward Raymond Road and Trout Brook Drive in 1966. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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