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

I loved last week’s throwback Thursday photo (at right and in larger size below), and I also loved the fact that I was going to an event right in that very room last Thursday!

As many of you guessed, the image was taken in what is now the Town Hall Auditorium, formerly the gym at the old Hall High School. It appears to be a school dance, possibly a homecoming dance, although a few thought a pep rally which might be correct as well.

As for the date of the image, well … we’re not quite sure. The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, which shared the photo with us, wasn’t positive either. It was part of a collection of photos which were taken in 1946, but the message at the base of the “goalpost” below the prone football players clearly seems to say “Chieftains.” Conard opened in 1957, and I’m not aware of any other “Chieftains” in this area, so more likely this photo was taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Here’s what many of our readers have to say. If anyone has more information, or can more positively date the photo based on the fashions or any other details, let me know!

Liz Gillette commented: “How funny! It’s the auditorium at old Hall High, aka Town Hall. Looks like late fifties/early sixties. Since the picture appears to be dead chieftains under a goal post, can we assume a pep rally before the big game with Conard? Or judging by the ties and frocks, a celebratory dance?”

Flor Ariza added: “I have not been here long at all only 6 years, but I’m gonna guess this was a homecoming dance of the high school at the time which used to be located in today’s town hall bldg.”

Rob Rowlson agreed, and added: “Liz has this correctly … Hall High and I would guess a pep rally before the Hall/Conard game … big doings for sure … note the ‘Poodle’ dress … early 60’s … and thin ‘Mad Men’ ties … LOL.”

There were also a few comments on Facebook. Lisa Petersen wrote, “Could it be from the first Hall vs Conard game? Definitely the Hall High auditorium.”

Jason McCabe also noticed the writing on the bottom of the display. “You can clearly see ‘Chief’ there on the bottom … I assume it actually says ‘Chieftans’ and given there’s what seems to be a dead Chieftan in a football uni under the uprights I’m guessing this is Hall High shenanigans.”

For this week’s image (see larger below) we take a look back at a local building.

Who knows where this is?

Who knows when it was taken? (We have the actual date for this one!)

What is in this building now?

Do you recall ever visiting this business?

Please share your memories below!

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

Event in the old Hall High School gym, now the Town Hall Auditorium. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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  • Youth Center was where the Toy Chest is today on Farmington. The Toy Chest moved to that spot from across the road where the Elbow Room is today. When I was a kid we shopped for clothes at the Youth Center and at the LaSalle Shop, where Briccos is. Next door to the Youth Center, to the West, was Sage Allen. Up the street at Luna Pizza was Carlson Shoes. All your 1960’s back-to-elementary-school needs, right in the Center! By the time you were in Junior High, you shopped the Acorn Shop, the English Shop and Casual Corner, all on LaSalle.
    This was quite a new and stylish building at the time. I think there had been a gas station in that spot in the 40s.

    • Youth Centre was my Dads store. Opening day in late August of 1955 coincided with a hurricane which flooded West Hartford Center ! Despite that auspicious beginning YC was a very successful business and served many area families. The staff there were so loyal that many of them remained for more than 25 years ! There were 13 other YC ‘s in Ct. And in Ma. But this seemed to be a customer favorite.

  • Think Liz sits with her computer set to “early warning” incoming “Wh-Ha” photo… once again she has it correct… except she forgot Diana Lee Shop and Powers and oh ya, Langley’s..(Red Hanger Shop) for the guys….

  • I’ll do you one better- anyone STILL have their cardigan sweater which they purchase at Youth Center in 6th grade? and it still fits?! Another quality garment from West Hartford Center… A friend just brought me a box of truffles from the Hilliard’s in North Easton, MA so that tradition continues.

  • My mom would take me here to get my school clothes every year. The changing rooms were downstairs right under the stairway and I always remember getting a bit jostled when I was in the dressing room and someone would come down the stars hard and fast.

  • Added:
    Pooh, he’s changed up the site. There was a whole little essay about growing up in West Hartford and watching them make candy. The recipe was developed to copy Hilliard’s buttercrunch, and it does!

  • I may be a little late with this posting. But that is an early picture of Youth Centre. It’s an early picture, because when I worked there between 1976 and later, Youth Center had expanded into the store to the left and the windows became a brick wall.

    Yeah. I worked there. It was my first real paying job.

    Youth Center eventually expanded to about a dozen or more locations around CT.

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