downtown

Worcester Market - Having Splendid Time

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The Worcester Market, an ornately adorned Classical Revival style building, was constructed by the J. W. Bishop Company from a design by its employee Oreste Ziroli, an Italian immigrant. It was completed in 1914 and opened for business in 1915. At that time, it was reported to be the largest food market in the United States, with 25,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and storage space above and below connected to the each product counter by elevators.

  Worcester Market: August 7, 2015

Worcester Market: August 7, 2015

Initially built for a regional grocer, Fayette Asyril Amidon, the building subsequently served as a store location for the Brockleman Bros. and Stop & Shop chains, before closing as a market in the mid-1960's. Thereafter, it was used for about a decade by Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries as a store and then, after substantial renovation, was leased to the state for various departmental offices. The building was closed in 2014 and today has an uncertain future.

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Still, many people remember the Worcester Market in its heyday, including Mrs. Beverly (Marsden) Strom who said recently, "(I went) there every Friday night shopping with my mother and father after having a hamburger at White Tower nearby.  It was the only market in town at the time until United Fruit opened up across the street." That was a different world.

Sent to: Miss Maude Hupper
Address: Rockland, Maine
We are enjoying a week with Belle - having splendid time - B & W send love to you and your mother.
Sincerely, Louise C. Hewett

  Postmark: 09/09/1926 - Worcester Mass.

Postmark: 09/09/1926 - Worcester Mass.

THE MYSTERY

  • Who were the B(elle) & W mentioned in the message on this card? What relationship did they have to the Sender and Recipient? Were they family or just close friends? One or the other most certainly.

THE SENDER

Louise Benner Curling was born in 1872 and, at the time of the 1930 Federal census, lived in Thomaston, Maine, just a few miles down Route 1 from the Recipient of this card. She married John Hewett in 1906 and it appears that they had no children. Louise died in 1951 and is buried in the Thomaston Village Cemetery.

THE RECIPIENT

Maude Louise Hupper was born in 1880 to Sidney G. & Eloise T. Hupper. According to the 1920 Federal census, at age 37 she was single and living in Rockland, Maine with her parents. At the time this card was sent, six years later, she was still single and thereafter never married. Maude died in 1971 at the age of 90 and is buried in Achorn Cemetery in Rockland, Maine.

REFERENCES
(1) Builder, Designer & Style - Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System
(2) The New Worcester Market - The Worcester Magazine, Volume 18, Pages 53-56
(3) Recent History - Worcester Telegram & Gazette, February 24, 2018
(2) Birth, Death & Census Records - Ancestry.com

The Card

THE WORCESTER MARKET, the largest of its kind in the United States. The entire plant has an area of 90,000 sq. ft. and a storage capacity of 1500 tons. The actual floor space, all on one floor, for the convenience of patrons, is 25,000 sq. ft.

Pub. by J. I. Williams, Worcester, Mass., U. S. A. [86-19]

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Bill Trutor for his research assistance on this topic.

The Derby Grill

  This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

Although the Web today is a vast reservoir of information, it is not (yet) infinite and many minor topics, along with people, organizations and other items of ephemeral or passing existence are completely missing or barely referenced. The latter characterizes what is currently available online regarding The Derby Grill at 19 Pearl Street. In fact, simply locating any trace of that specific address has proved difficult.

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The map above shows two buildings (boxed area) on Pearl Street in 1922 with addresses that range from 15 to 39. Those structures have since been demolished and the site is now occupied (if that's the word) by a parking lot. Based on the decor and clothing styles shown on the front of this card one would assume that some people with a living memory of The Derby Grill are still around. But, absent their testimony, the restaurant's original sales pitch will have to be the last word for now.

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The Downtown Restaurant You Like.
for excellent food . . .
courteous service . . .
reasonable prices . . .
and gay, friendly atmosphere!

Who could wish for anything more?


REFERENCES

(1) Period Map - Atlas of the City of Worcester Massachusetts, Richards Map Co., 1922, Plate 4

THE CARD

"TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS" REG. U.S. PAT. OFF. MADE ONLY BY TICHNOR BROS., INC. BOSTON, MASS. [83039]
 

Franklin Square Theatre - F.L.C.

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The Franklin Square Theatre at 2 Southbridge Street was built by Ransom Clarke Taylor from a design by the local firm of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting and opened for business in 1904. The hall included orchestra seating for 658 people, a balcony and boxes for 459, and a gallery for 519. At that time, admission prices ranged from $1.50 for the best orchestra seats to $0.25 for the gallery.

In the first two decades of its existence, the theater hosted local and traveling performers as well as Broadway touring companies. However, in 1926 then-owner Sylvester Z. Poli developed a larger adjacent building (Poli's Palace) to cash in on the growing craze for moving pictures and this original structure was relegated to secondary uses.

  2 Southbridge Street: July 3, 2015

2 Southbridge Street: July 3, 2015

Today, thanks primarily to the imaginative efforts of Ed Madaus and Paul Demoga, along with substantial contributions from many players in Worcester, this building has been restored and is now being used as part of The Hanover Theatre complex. Unfortunately, the original stained glass windows that once graced the facade of this building were lost or stolen at some point. Perhaps someone knows where they are now?

  Sent to: Mr. Donald P. Lyford   Address:  Hudson, Mass.  Postmark:  08/20/1907 - South Berlin Mass.

Sent to: Mr. Donald P. Lyford
Address: Hudson, Mass.
Postmark: 08/20/1907 - South Berlin Mass.

THE MYSTERY

  • This card was postmarked in a town less than five miles from where the recipient lived and has, essentially, no content. Maybe it was sent, as so many postcards at the time were, simply as part of an exchange between people who collected the cards. Picture postcard collecting was a mania in the early 1900's and hundreds of millions of cards were mailed annually until the fad crashed at the beginning of the First World War.

THE SENDER

At best, given only the three initials on the front of the card, we may surmise that the sender was thoughtful . . . but he or she will probably remain forever unknown to us.

THE RECIPIENT

Donald Pierce Lyford was born on February 11, 1894 in Spencer, Massachusetts to Taylor C. Lyford and Nellie L. (Pierce) Lyford. He married in 1917 and had one son, but at the time of the 1930 census was divorced and living with his parents. Later in life it appears that he married Dorothy Avis Branigan. She died in 1969, he died in 1978, and they are both (Donald & Dorothy) buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

REFERENCES
(1) Franklin Square Theatre - The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts
(2) Seating - The The Engineering Record, Building Record and Sanitary Engineer, Volume 49, Number 13, Page 392 [ 1904 ]
(3) Admission Prices - Julius Cahn's Official Theatrical Guide, Volume 13, Page 492 [ 1908 ]
(4) Postcard History - New York State Library
(5) Local Birth, Marriage, Divorce & Death Records - Ancestry.com

The Card

Made in Germany.
A.C. Besselman & Co., New York.
[501]

Easton's Corner

  This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

The F. A. Easton Company, already an established newsdealer in the city at the time, moved to this site at the intersection of Main and Pleasant Streets in 1893. Fergus Anzle Easton (born in Scotland in 1842) was a veteran of the Civil War, serving in the Fourth and Sixth Regiments of the New York Volunteer Infantry, primarily in Northern Virginia. Although he died in 1916, his wife reportedly continued to operate this establishment until 1965.

In his book of collected essays, The Worcester Account, Samuel N. Behrman mentions Easton's as a significant part of the downtown landscape. "Saturdays and holidays there was exaltation in going ‘down the line’ . . . [past] City Hall, to Easton’s, at Main and Pleasant." No doubt a part of the attraction for Behrman and his companions was the soda fountain there which, when originally installed, was the largest in Worcester.

REFERENCES
(1) Memorial Encyclopedia of the State of Massachusetts, Volume 2 - Google Play
(2) F. A. Easton Company - WorcesterMass.com
(3) Samuel N. Behrman - Worcester Historical Museum

 

  Thanks to Larry Abramoff for the card.

Thanks to Larry Abramoff for the card.

THE CARD

Raphael Tuck & Sons, "RaphoType" [Regd] Postcard No. 5060, "WORCESTER, Mass."
ART PUBLISHERS TO THEIR MAJESTIES THE KING & QUEEN
[No. 5060]
 

New England Telephone & Telegraph

  This postcard is unused (never posted).

This postcard is unused (never posted).

This utilitarian but still quite handsome Art Deco building was designed by the firm of Densmore, LeClear and Robbins for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company and completed in 1928. Although not evident from the postcard shown above, the structure includes many adornments typical of this architectural style, including elaborate exterior lighting fixtures, ornamented doorways, and a fierce eagle (see below) topping the Elm Street entrance.

Today, 90 years after it was opened, the building is still owned by a telephone company (Verizon), although they are no longer in the telegraph business.

REFERENCES
(1) Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System

  New England Telephone & Telegraph Building: November 6, 2014.

New England Telephone & Telegraph Building: November 6, 2014.

New-England-Telephone-Eagle_1928-Bldg_IMG-4216.JPG

THE CARD

PUB. BY PERKINS & BUTLER, INC., WORCESTER, MASS.
"TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS" MADE ONLY BY TICHNOR BROS. INC., BOSTON, MASS.
[63324]
 

Pleasant Street from Main Street - This other pretty place.

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The view on this card amply illustrates the vibrant commercial scene on lower Pleasant Street in the early 1900's. Shops abounded with offices and apartments above. By the late 1960's however, the character of the city had changed and the rush to "urban renewal" was in full swing. And, as was typical for such redevelopments at the time, the wisdom of a walkable city was cast aside in favor of large, out-of-scale buildings with severely limited pedestrian access.

  . . . this place not so pretty.

. . . this place not so pretty.

In 1974, most of the three, four, and five story buildings on the left side of the street were replaced by a 24-story office building (and its associated parking garage). On Pleasant Street now, that building is flush with the sidewalk and presents only a blank, impenetrable wall. Although other factors were certainly in play at the time, this disregard for the value of street-level connections contributed significantly to the destruction of the streetscape and crippled the commercial potential of lower Pleasant Street.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester County National Bank Tower

Sent to: Mrs. Mary C. Coopper
Address: New London, NH
My dear Mrs. Coopper: I arrived to Boston last Friday, and after af to visit the city, I came this other pretty place. leaving for Norwich at 3, o'clock. To-morrow I will write you again Yours sincerely.
From: B. G. Luina [??]

  Postmark: 03/22/1915 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 03/22/1915 - Worcester, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • In this case, the mysteries abound. Clearly, the sender was traveling south, undoubtedly by train, and had been in Boston on March 19th. But what had happened between that date and the sending of this card, and the nature of these two parties' relationship, and why there is no census or local address record of the recipient are all unknown.

THE SENDER

The spelling of the signature on this card is difficult to resolve, but perhaps a sharper-eyed reader could tease out an accurate transcription. In any case, all of the possible letter combinations I could imagine don't result in a spelling that makes sense.

THE RECIPIENT

The Anglo Saxon surname "Coopper" and its many variants is quite common and originally referred to those who made barrels and similar containers. My search for a Mrs. Mary C. Coopper living in New Hampshire has turned up nothing and this particular spelling seems much more prevalent in those living in the southern United States.

THE CARD

Pub. by Henry Freeman & Co., Worcester, Mass.

Main Street from Harrington Corner - Isn't it time?

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Quite remarkably, most of the buildings seen in this view of Main Street from the early 1900's have survived relatively intact. Prominent among them is the building in the immediate foreground on the right, Harrington Corner, designed by famed architect Elbridge Boyden and completed in 1850. Boyden's work over the course of a 50-year career included dozens of elegant homes, churches and commercial buildings in Worcester and many, many more throughout the Northeast.

  Harrington Corner: April 5, 2017

Harrington Corner: April 5, 2017

  Postmark: 08/04/1906 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 08/04/1906 - Worcester, MA

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Sent to: Mr. H. J. Soule
Address: Franklin, VT
What does your postal mean? Haven't you rec'd my letter yet? I am alone at the office. My pictures haven't come yet. Isn't it time?

THE MYSTERY

  • The mysteries here are many and rich, all contained in five short sentences on the face of the card. The sender has sent a previous letter (What does your postal mean?) but is quite confused by a recent missive from the recipient (Haven't you rec'd my letter?). The possibilities are endless. And, pictures of what? Finally, a plaintive note, "I am alone at the office." Alone and reaching out for some human connection via postcard.

THE SENDER

Unfortunately, there is no signature or other indication of who the sender might have been.

THE RECIPIENT

There are no easily located records for Mr. H. J. Soule in Franklin, Vermont. However, the card was sent "c/o Wm. Riley, R.D. No. 1." and a William J. Riley is listed on the 1910 U.S. census as a farmer in Franklin County. The obvious inference then would be that Mr. Soule was a laborer at the farm, not a permanent resident, which would explain the addressing of the card.

THE CARD

Published by The Metropolitan News Co., Boston