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

While nothing will likely top the reaction and outpouring of memories that the image of South Seas inspired (people are still commenting, which is awesome!), last week’s image (at right and in larger size below) did generate some good chatter and interesting observations.

“CBT. Corner of No. Main Street and Farmington Ave.,” commented Rob Rowlson, immediately after the article was posted.

“Not sure what is started as, but my oldest memory was that it was a Connecticut Bank and Trust (CBT) back then. It’s now a Bank of America on the corner of North Main Street and Farmington Avenue. I worked there as a floating teller one summer (probably 1989 or 1990) but I’m sure this photo was taken many moons before I arrived here. I do remember going to to safe deposit boxes downstairs with my Grandmother once. We had taken the bus to get there. Probably 1977ish,” added Kelly Hartzog.

Liz Gillette had some keen observations about the photo: “I also remember it as CBT. Look to the left in the picture – a house. So it must have been taken before the Oct 1st TBT picture of the Beekley Co/Sally and Bob’s next door. Someone commented that it was started right before WWII. My guess the bank picture is from the 30s.”

And Ed Dombraskas added the final details: “The only thing changed here is the name of the bank that occupied what was the West Hartford Trust Co and is now Bank of America. However, the real throwback now is to step into the little grassy park immediately North of the building off of North Main Street. Originally the drive thru window entered from here on North Main. Step about 50 feet in and look to your left and you will see the original drive thru window/booth. It’s a step back in time. It remains as if the teller locked up in 1940 and never came back. Even the old microphone is still in place.”

Rick Liftig, who added his comments on Facebook, also recalled the drive-through: “Back in the day, I remember driving with my Dad in his MG, top down of course, and going through the CBT drive-through that was located just to the north of the building. On those days when he had to go inside, I was awed by the murals and the high ceilings. As a little kid I thought, ‘this is what a bank is supposed to look like – wow!'”

“This building was originally the West Hartford Bank & Trust Co. Built in the mid 1920s. As Rick mentioned there is a drive through and if you look carefully from north main you can still see it,” added Tracey Wilson.

This building has always been a bank, but it’s gone through quite a number of name changes. Michael Susan McIarney said “I seem to recall that this the was first bank in the WH area to have an ATM – a ‘Barney’ machine?” Jason McCabe commented that he recalled it as Fleet Bank, and I’m pretty sure that was the name before Bank of America.

And, check out the old drive-through. As Ed, Rick, and Tracey said, it’s still there. I had never before noticed that!

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

This week’s image (at right and in larger size below) appears eerily similar to some scenes around present-day West Hartford, but it’s definitely from the past.

Who knows where this photo was taken?

When was this photo taken, and what do you think was happening?

What are some of the businesses that are visible in the photo? What is located there now?

Some pretty good captions could also describe this photo!

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.

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

West Hartford Trust Company (now Bank of America) at the corner of North Main Street and Farmington Avenue. Courtesy Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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  • OKay, I’ll go first. It’s North Main at Farmington looking south. Judd Drug Store, Burnham’s store and the recently deceased Masonic Temple. The sign on the sidewalk says “Danger Above”. This all points me towards simply cutting down the tree. But… There is a stack of some kind of pipe on the sidewalk and there appears to be someone up one of the telephone poles. I would go for sometime in the 30’s or late 20’s by the trucks. It would have to be before the Board of Education building was built, because there is a house on what would be the corner of N. Main and Memorial. What is the ‘tower’ at the end of the block where Kaoud’s or Play It Again is? A church? Are they improving the street as part of a larger plan? Notice how many and how young the trees on the green are. More digging ahead…

  • Um, I think we had this quiz picture once before. Of course, I forget what they were doing- electrifying South Main? We see again the famous apartment building (yours truly as famous former resident #7 So. Main) from a couple of weeks ago is again on the corner. It was built in 1933, I believe, and since the corner looks so established, I will guess that the photo is from 1937-38?

  • That’s a picture taken before St. James’ was torn down. I went there once with my husband and his family before we were married (1958). I can’t see the store, but Alling Rubber (sporting goods), was not far from the Farmington Ave corner. Burnham’s grocery store was next door, south of St. James’ across from the old Town Hall (where Crate and Barrel is now?) Miss somebody or other’s dancing school was in the basement of one of those visible buildings on So. Main.

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