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 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

Between catching up from vacation and the start of school, the last last time this column appeared was Aug. 24 (sorry!) and that image (at right and in larger size below) took quite a bit of research to identify.

Derek Pariseault agreed that this was a tough one and said it had him stymied, but he was completely accurate about the location in his comments on the article: “I know I’ve seen and what threw me off course were the houses to the right and the old cars. When I was a youngster in the 50’s I would pass it walking to the center and when in high school I’d pass it walking to Hall. The cars are from the 30’s or 40’s and the houses to the right weren’t there. The building that Sally and Bob’s and Woodford Insurance are in is there now. My best guess is it was originally the Center School, then some businesses and I think it was demolished in the 60’s some time. It’s almost on the corner of Loomis Drive … If it indeed is the Center School it was probably built in the 1800’s’s.” He added that the houses to the right are now an office building.

In a comment posted on Facebook, Kelly Lucey provided some information about the evolution of the West Hartford Printing and Lithographic Company: “I am not sure where this is in town now, but it is West Hartford Printing and Lithograph company. This company later became The Beekley Corporation on North Main. They are now located in Bristol CT and are one of Connecticut’s top places to work!”

Lisa Petersen in the 1960s in front of Miss Florence Greenland’s dance studio. Courtesy photo

There were some other guesses about what/where this building was: South Quaker Lane, the Noah Webster House, but Lisa Petersen had the complete answer, and a photo from the late 1960s as proof! “That looks like the little red brick building that was on North Main St (just north of Farmington and practically opposite Brace Rd). It was right next to where the “Y” is now. In the late 1960s it was torn down to make the office building that’s there today. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, it was my dance studio in the 1960s when I took dance from Miss Florence Greenland.”

According to my research and some information on the Beekley Corporation website, the West Hartford Printing and Lithographic Company, which later became the medical and hospitality supply company Beekley Corporation (now located in Bristol), was located on North Main St. in West Hartford from 1934-1942. The building, which was built in 1865 and was the Center School until 1895 or 1896 later became home Florence Greenland Dance School. The address was 14 North Main St., and it was just north of the building that currently houses the YMCA office and Sally & Bob’s – which was built in 1943. This building was torn down to make way for the office building at 18 North Main St. which was completed in 1973.

Other than sometime between 1934-1942, I don’t have the exact year that the photo was taken, but maybe someone who can date the cars can figure that one out!

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) is another tough one, but appropriate as the kids are just back to school.

Why knows where this photo was taken?

When was this photo taken?

Can you recognize the teacher, or anyone in the photo?

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

From 1934-1942, this building at 14 North Main St. housing West Hartford Printing & Lithographic Company was located just north of the current site of the YMCA office and Sally & Bob’s. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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