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 an easy one for most of our readers.
“That’s Conard High School. This picture appears in the 1961 Conard Yearbook,” commented Lisa Petersen. So, we know it’s definitely Conard, and the photo is from 1961 or earlier!
“’The factory’ before the current look of Conard in more recent years!” added Amy Frey.
Alexandra Everson agreed it was Conard. “That one is easy. My alma mater Conard High School, probably circa ‘way before I graduated,'” commented Lucien Grillo.
“Instant recognition! Conard High School. Looked like this when I went there. It doesn’t look like that anymore?” asked Rondi Bedar.
The tricky part actually was figuring out where the photo was taken, because there have been several additions and although it’s obviously Conard’s construction, the perspective is not so obvious.
“That’s looking at the cafeteria of Conard. I’m surprised that it’s a 1961 picture as Lisa Petersen states. I guess it didn’t change much between then and 1968 when I was there. This picture was taken from the north side of the student parking lot,” said Russell Oasis.
I’m not sure this comment helps with the perspective, unless you were there at the time: “We can all agree it’s Conard … and I’ll add that I think this is the general area where the summer Hootenannies took pace in the mid 60s. These were a regular Weds. night event … I was there frequently and my wife, Barbara, just informed me that she was also a regular … hummm …” wrote Rob Rowlson.
“Wow! Ultra modern educational architecture (circa 1960!) I worked on the big refit committee in the late-mid 90’s, graduated in the 70s. It’s still totally recognizable but I’m having a hard time remembering the color progression of the buildings till now, anyone remember? P.S. That’s a lot of gym wall! It’s only the ‘picture perspective’ thing, but ‘GE Carousel-of-Progress’, anyone? (Another ’60s reference) Oh my goodness, I love that building – every inch!” commented Liz Gillette.
Liz also provided a bit of Conard history: “P.P.S. Named after Frederick Conard, long time chairman of the Board of Education at a particularly important and pivotal time in West Hartford’s growth. A debt of gratitude is owed to him and many other dedicated, volunteer, public servants in West Hartford’s history. We have been truly blessed with the caliber, foresight and quality of our town policy leaders through the years (Rob, you included!). Sermon over.”
There were multiple comments on Facebook, and all agreed it was Conard, except for John Hardy who can almost always be counted on for a creative answer: “This is a photograph of the model of the new Supermax federal prison to be built on the land currently housing the UConn campus.”
“Yes, I think it’s Conard HS, the east side of the school, showing some of the classrooms & the original gym. Taken maybe when it opened in the 1950s?” wrote MaryBeth Callan Serdechny.
“Looks like Conard in at LEAST the 1960s. This would have been the original design of the school anyway. And in its place today – well, from what the school looks like now, it looks like this picture was taken about where the library/front entrance is today,” wrote Jeff Murray.
“Yes, it’s Conard. It looks like the front. I would guess it was new as the name of the school is missing from the building (wasn’t it on the blue aluminum?) and the trees look very skinny/young,” commented Jennifer Howe Frank.
So, readers are as confused as I am about the perspective. We’ve heard the north side of the student parking lot (the lot is actually on the west side of the school), east side of the school (gym) and south side (library/front entrance).
I actually walked all around Conard today, and tried to figure out where the photo was taken. I snapped a few photos (included at right and above) with my phone. When I got home and showed them to my husband and son (who is a Conard student), no one could agree. My son thinks the photo was taken from a perspective that you can’t get to now – and that the covered walkway led to the math wing.
Anyone else have an opinion?
For this week, we have a photo (at right and in larger size below) that looks a bit wintry, which is appropriate for the way it’s been feeling outside.
Does anyone know anything about this image?
What was this man doing?
Does this company still exist?
When was this photo taken?
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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It is the front from what was still West Point Terrace. Athletic fields/tennis courts were not exactly as they are today until 1979. The tall structure is the Auditorium. There was no automotive wing either at the time of this photo, skewing the perspective.
Thank you, “Newt”! That was what I thought but when I went to take a photo from the parking lot it was tough to see. Are we related? ~Ronni Newton
There is still a Southern New England Ice and Oil company that can be seen from 84 opposite Pope Park. They sell dry ice, if I recall. Ice was big business at one time. Wood Pond/Woodridge lake was used for ice harvesting in addition to the Troutbrook icehouse.
We may be! My Grandfather Robert was one of 14 so it would not be far fetched!