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!
Last week’s photo (at right and in larger size below) was a throwback to the days before what looks to be one of the town’s main streets was paved. That made identifying the location rather difficult, even for our veteran local history buffs.
Rick Liftig was the first to comment: “I’ve got my guessing hat on. That sure looks like the Farmington Avenue Hill facing West. The church on the left would be where the Congregational Church is now (and is probably a previous incarnation) and the house on the right is the parking lot for Bank of America. But, there’s a utility pole with electricity and phone, but NO trolley tracks… so color me – confused.” He added a second comment: “One more thought: the church at the top of the hill to the right certainly resembles the Baptist Church on N. Main. Any chance that this was Fern St facing East?”
Liz Gillette said, “I’m going to piggy-back on Rick. I think it’s taken at about Troutbrook looking towards Main. The Congregational church was also called the “greystone church” and burned down in 1942. Is the square topped building way in the back right the old town hall on the northwest corner? If so that would make the steeple the old Baptist church (I think…) While it may be earlier, I wonder if this is a picture of the once famous West Hartford mud, perhaps covering the tracks. Do the utility poles have an arm on them that would be the trolley cable?”
Mike Margolis had another thought: “Is this New Britain Avenue looking west up the hill from about New Park? This is a tough one!”
Several readers added their comments on Facebook.
“I’ll take a stab, tho I’m a relative newcomer and hopefully get a pass accordingly. Is that new Britain Ave, with St. Brigid church? I’d guess early 20th century, given the electrical lines,” said Jennifer Cote.
Zachary Hilborn wrote: “Farmington avenue looking west towards west hartford center, we see the first church on the left, burned by a fire in 1947 and replaced with the current structure.” Nancy McClelland Ball agreeed: “Farmington Ave. east of South Main St. Congregational Church on the left corner (Greystone Church). Right corner is where the bank is today.”
The correct answer, according to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is … “Farmington Ave looking West approximately from Troutbrook.” I’m sorry to say there was not a year provided. I don’t see the trolley tracks either, and although I’m not sure what the “once famous West Hartford mud” it’s possible that the tracks are on the side of the road underneath the telephone/electric poles and are partially obscured. The visible church at the left is the “Greystone” church, the fourth building of the First Congregational Church. It was built in 1882 and destroyed by fire in 1942. The other steeple – barely visible in the center of the image – belongs to the Baptist Church and to its right is Town Hall, which at the time was located in First Church’s third building. According to the “Celebrate! West Hartford” book, where this image also appears (and where many of these details were found), the house visible in the image belonged to the Andrews family.
Some readers may remember when the buildings in this week’s image (at right and in larger size below) looked like this.
Where was this photo taken?
What year was this? (We have the correct answer available this week!)
What are some of the visible businesses?
What is in this location today?
Please share your memories below.
Thank you to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society for providing us with the images. They are always looking for new images to add to the collection. Visit their website atwww.noahwebsterhouse.orgfor more information about membership and programs.
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