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!

My apologies for skipping last week’s Throwback Thursday column. It was in the middle of a holiday week and the timing also didn’t work for the limited newsletter distribution.

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

The most recent image (at right an in larger size below) was fairly easy to identify, but not as easy to date. We were hoping someone would have a definitive date for the photo, because it came to us undated. There are a lot of good guesses in the comments!

Liz Gillette posted her comment directly on the article: “The corner of Farmington and North Main. The Congregational Church that became the Town Hall where the Veteran’s Memorial is now. While it seems to be looking north, I’m perplexed by the point of view, the angle. I’ll guess the late 20s or 30s. Does this show how we used to ‘roll,’ or pack, the roads in the snow instead of plowing?”

The view is of the intersection Liz noted, and it is facing north. It does appear as if the snow is packed down. Does anyone know if that was the way snowstorms were handled in the past?

Bonnie McKenzie commented on Facebook: “I think this is looking north at the intersection of Farmington and Main. Isn’t that the old Congregational church on what is now the Veterans Memorial? That big brown dutch colonial (center) is the house that was recently torn down to build the new apartments on the corner of Loomis Drive.”

“This looks like the old congregational church that used to be on the corner of Farmington Ave. and North Main St., looking east towards Hartford. No signs or rotary; are those hitching posts? 1905-10, best guess,” wrote Jean Merritt Linderman.

Jeff Murray shared an amazing amount of detail about this intersection and the buildings shown in the image:  “Yeah, looks like the Congregational Church on the left. Looking north through the trees to North Main Street. If this view is correct, this would have to be taken in the late 1890s or early 1900s, I’d say. Those two houses in the photograph were the property of Myron Andrews (1855-1937), a prominent banker, who at one time owned the old brick Center School just north of that house in the center. The house on the right was removed in 1926 to make way for building currently the Bank of America at the northeast corner. The house in the center was removed in 1941 by his son, M. Morris Andrews, to make way for the large brick building that houses the YMCA today across from Brace Road. His son constructed the building on behalf of the Andrews Corporation, which has been continued under various iterations even up to today! That building block has been owned since 2005 by S. B. Andrews Company LLC. Just shows we’re not too far away from what was in this picture!”

“Hitching posts and gas street lamps. Late 1800s?” guessed Stephen Guillette.

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) seems to be a bit more recent.

Who knows where this is?

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 and Town Manager Ron Van Winkle 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 Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Corner of Farmington Avenue and North Main Street, looking north. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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  • This appears to be the original Plant Junior High building, which faces Whiting Lane. It now looks nothing like this and is part of the Plant senior housing building.

  • It looks like Plant Jr. High School on Whiting Lane. I remember the “connector” building that attached Plant to the school administration building on the far right. (I went to Plant from 1969-1972)

  • Looks like Plant Jr Higj. My mother was a para p teacher there until it closed. She went on to KP after that. The terrain does not look right for Whitman

  • This was also before they added the second entrance to a stairway which would have been on the left/front of the building. Right next to the faculty lot that was between Plant and Whiting lane Elementary School.

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