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

We got lots of feedback on last week’s image (shown at right and in larger size below)!

First in was Jennifer Sharp: “Looks like the building that faces Hamilton Ave. (between Farmington and Fern). I think it’s a nursing home or similar now but was built by a Vanderbilt,” she commented.

“Normandy726” added some more detail: “The Hamilton Heights complex was Mount Saint Joseph Academy (possibly what is in picture), but Vanderbilt’s home was on the road that you entered from Farmington Avenue onto West Hill Drive.”

Connie Reder spoke from personal knowledge, and with even more details: “Oh, yes, that is Mount St. Joseph Academy, from which I graduated in 1967. It is now Atria Hamilton Heights, an assisted living community. The Hartford Insurance Group bought it initially after the school closed; later it was purchased by The Marriott Corp., totally rehabbed and named Brighton Gardens. (My late mother-in-law and parents were both residents at one time). What used to be the chapel has Tiffany stained glass windows and is listed in the National Historic Register. It is well worth taking a tour!”

“Rosemary,” who also graduated from Mount St. Joseph, also added some personal memories: “The photo is Mount Saint Joseph Adademy and I spent 4 happy years there. The school opened in 1908 starting as a boarding school and continued until 1978. A beautiful place for high school girls to attend and receive a great education!”

Rob Rowlson, Lisa Moran Franklin (a 1974 Mount St. Joseph graduate, and Lisa Petersen (who attended training classes there when the building was owned by The Hartford) all properly identified the building on Facebook.

Thanks for all of the feedback!

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

This week we have a food place (see photo at right and in larger size below), and we anticipate that many will share their memories!

Where was this restaurant located? Who remembers eating there or working there? What else was in the shopping center? What is there now?

Please share your thoughts and memories below. Captions are, of course, always welcome.

Thank you to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society for providing us with the images. For more information about the organization, visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org.

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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

The former Mount St. Joseph Academy opened in 1909 and closed in 1978. The building is now the assisted living community Atria Hamilton Heights. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford HIstorical Society

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  • Bridlepath Friendly’s of course!

    There was a quartet of Friendly’s in town: Elmwood, Park Road, Bishop’s Corner and Bridlepath. The center location came later. Because we weren’t allowed to eat at Howdy Beefburgers, my family regularly hit Friendly’s for BBCBs (Big Beef Cheeseburgers) and the Awful-Awful. One of the co-founders of Friendly’s, (Pres or Curt) Blake had a massive house on Sunset Farm. In the basement was his antique car collection (38 parking spaces as I remember).

    Next to Friendly’s was Gus’ Barber Shop; Gus later got out of the hair-cutting business and opened up Farmington Avenue Pizza across the street (which worked out very well). Bridlepath Pharmacy, also in the Plaza, was probably responsible for many of the cavities seen in Bridlepath Elementary School’s kids. And of course, Stop and Shop, which had been there since the days of Noah Webster (tongue firmly in cheek)

    • Yes! My father went to the barber shop there for years, and, when Gus opened the pizza place (and there weren’t so many then!), we went there. Wooldridge gas station at the triangle where Boulevard split off Farmington…

  • Isn’t this where Stop and Shop is on Farmington Ave/Boulevard? I have vague memories of going to this Friendly’s.

  • he Friendly’s at Sunset Triangle, where I got my first job as a waitress in 1965. There was also a package store, and Bridlepath Pharmacy, plus the original (much smaller) Stop & Shop which now occupies the entire plaza.
    I was paid $1.25 an hour ( the minimum wage at the time), consisting of $1.10 plus 15 cents in tips, which we pooled. I found out 7 or 8 years ago that my late mother had saved my waitress uniform, which I wore to a costume party! (“Would like Friendly Fries with your burger and Fribble?”)

  • Also Colonial Charm hair salon. As a kid, I LOVED walking into Bridalpath Pharmacy just for the automatic doormat – a contraption built into the floor that brushed the bottom of your shoes.

  • I worked at this Friendly’s when Fran McDonald was the manager in the early 70’s. Located where Farmington Ave and the Boulevard meet. My Mom, used to seeing me laze around our house, chuckled that she had never seen me move so fast. Loved the original Big Beef and the fribbles.

  • it seems like yesterday we were all hanging out there. The cops would come by and tell everyone to leave. 15 minuets later we were all back again!

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