West Hartford’s ‘Thursday Throwback’

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Test your knowledge of West Hartford history with this ‘Thursday Throwback,’ courtesy of West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle and 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!

As there has been for the past several weeks, this week there is an extra name in the credit for this week’s historical photo. Town Manager Ron Van Winkle came across a stash of historical photos in his office, and graciously offered to share them with us as well as the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society.

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

It was easy for most of our readers to identify the intersection in this week’s photo (at right and in larger size below), but dating it and discovering some of the other detail was a bit more challenging.

“Looks like Hall’s Market on the left and next to it, where Park Lane Pizza is today, corner of Park and S. Quaker. 1940-something,” commented Robert Farr, who was the first to weigh in.

Rick Liftig did some further close analysis, and added: “Bob – it’s definitely the Hall’s building and present day Park Lane Pizza, but when I enlarged and sharpened the pic, the sign says”ABE’S…(something). Hall’s was founded in 1935, so I am going to guess this is mid-1920’s. And there are street car wires visible too. Good one Ronni and Ron!”

Linda Gilbert also wrote: “Halls and Park Lane Pizza at corner of South Quaker and Park Road!”

Tracey Bissell added some more [and correct] clarification about which buildings appear in the photo: “It is Hall’s to Go and Park Lane Pizza. There are 3 buildings now Hall’s, Hall’s to Go and Park Lane. Looks like they are cleaning up the Intersection with Quaker Lane.”

“Old Abelson’s Market and Quaker Pharmacy on the corner, now Park Lane Pizza. I believe Hall’s was built later to the left or expanded the Abelson’s original store,” added Giovanni Seccaraccia.

Liz Gillette also took a closer look at the image, and added: “I got it as ‘Abelsons Market.’ Park Lane looks to have already been converted from a house to a business. I think there is a chunk of the trolley track somewhere in town hall from when Park Rd. was re-done, maybe in Ron’s office! I’ll guess the thirties for the time (based on pretty much nothing!!!)”

Those who commented on Facebook said pretty much the same thing, and all correctly recognized this as the intersection of South Quaker and Park. Some said the building on the left was Hall’s or Halls 2Go(rather than Hall’s Kitchen) and someone else said this one was too easy!

I will have to admit that having the original photograph was an asset in this case, and the store where Hall’s Kitchen is currently located (it was Halls 2Go and then A Little Something Bakery) was called Abelson’s Market. I had to use a magnifying glass and very bright light, but after much examination the sign above the door of what is now Park Lane Pizza says “Thrall Pharmacy.” The sign to the right indicates that they also sold ice cream.

The photo was taken in 1927.

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

We’ve got another “easy” photo this week (at right and in larger size below), but those are fun, too, because it’s interesting to recall what used to be on a certain street and how the town has evolved. This image was already planned for this week, but coincidentally has special significance to another story that is currently appearing on We-Ha.com. (Bonus points if you can guess what story that is without clicking this link!)

Who knows where this is?

Who knows when this was taken?

What businesses are in this spot now?

What are some of the businesses that have been here over the years?

Please share your memories below.

Thank you to Town Manger Ron Van Winkle, and 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 at www.noahwebsterhouse.org for more information about membership and programs.

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Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

South Quaker Lane and Park Road intersection, facing south. Courtesy Town Manager Ron Van Winkle

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  • North side of Farmington Ave in the center. The Central Theater is where the Central Mall is now. The other story is about the potential zoning change to West Hartford Center.

    Interestingly Central Wheel moved from here, was on Farmington Ave closer to Trout Brook and is now in Farmington on Farmington Ave. Central Delicatessen moved from here too, west on Farmington Ave to the block of stores where Fleet Feet is currently located. They are no longer in business. I’m not sure when they closed but they were open in 1992 because we used them to cater our daughter’s baptism.

  • The Central in West Hartford Center. Looks like the picture was taken from the roof of the Hair Color Company across the street. The cars are from the 20’s but I think the 1926 production of that movie may have only been in Italian. So my guess is 1935.

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