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Worcester Memorial Auditorium (& Central Congregational Church)

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Worcester Memorial Auditorium, officially dedicated in 1933, was built to honor the city's World War I veterans. It was designed by the architects Lucius W. Briggs of Worcester and Frederic C. Hirons of New York City. Although the columns on this building announce its Classical Revival style, the setting on a steep hill leading up Highland Street and the low extensions on the north and south sides detract somewhat from its "classic" proportions. Nonetheless, its presence on Lincoln Square is weighty and dignified.

On the upper element of the entablature are inscribed these words.
"To honor the service in war of her sons and daughters and to nourish in peace their spirit of sacrifice a grateful city erected this building." [ Chief Justice Arthur P. Rugg ]

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Both the interior and exterior of the building are adorned with many Art Deco features, including the two examples shown above. It also houses the mighty Kimball Pipe Organ, a magnificent instrument equipped with 6,853 pipes over 107 ranks that, quite unlike so many other vintage organs around the world, has not been modified since it debuted here in 1933.

The Central Mural, 57 x 30 Feet

The Central Mural, 57 x 30 Feet

This imposing building also holds within it a stunning set of three large murals painted by Leon Kroll. It is impossible to grasp the scale and impact of Kroll's work without visiting the site, but the detail images below may give a sense of his ambition for this project.

Detail: Center Mural

Detail: Center Mural

Detail: Left Mural [ 16 x 25.5 Feet ]

Detail: Left Mural [ 16 x 25.5 Feet ]

In a tragic irony, these murals were dedicated on May 28, 1941, barely six months prior to the bombing at Pearl Harbor which brought the United States into the Second World War.

Worcester Memorial Auditorium - July 4, 2015

Worcester Memorial Auditorium - July 4, 2015

Over the course of the last 85 years, the Auditorium has hosted a wide range of events, from civic celebrations and high school graduations to Holy Cross basketball games and roller derby competitions. Among the almost uncountable number of concerts held here was Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review in 1975 (at which Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell also appeared). Today the building sits empty, unused since 1999, with an uncertain future. However, a substantial city-funded study is now underway to determine what can and should be done to preserve it for future generations.

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REFERENCES

(1) Architecture & Design - Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System
(2) Planning & Construction - Worcester Chapter, American Guild of Organists
(3) Justice Arthur P. Rugg - Memorial: Mass.Gov Website
(4) Rolling Thunder Review - Joni Mitchell Library
(5) 2017 - 2018 Feasibility Study - Worcester Telegram & Gazette [ Paywall ]

THE CARD

PUB. BY PERKINS & BUTLER, INC., WORCESTER, MASS
"TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS" REG U.S. PAT. OFF.
MADE ONLY BY TICHNOR BROS., INC. BOSTON, MASS.
[ 63322 ]
 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many thanks to Larry Haley for information on the proper architectural terminology.

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]
 

Woman's Club

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

The Worcester Woman's Club Building, completed in 1902 and now known as Tuckerman Hall, is one of the most unique and historically interesting buildings in Worcester. It's triangular shape was essentially dictated by the small parcel of land on which it is built, but the design solution for this limited footprint is both elegant and beautiful.

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The architect, Josephine Wright Chapman, anchored this Neoclassical Revival building with circular towers on each of the three corners, which allowed a setback of the main facade and provided room for a drive-through portico. To accommodate a sharply sloped building site, the front of the building is four stories tall, while the back is only three stories.

The life story of Josephine Wright Chapman is worthy of an entire book and an overview of her history can be found in the references provided below. She was born in 1867 and, despite her family's intense disapproval, convinced a prominent Boston architect (Clarence Blackall) to accept her as an apprentice. Five years later Chapman established her own firm and in 1901 applied to join the American Institute of Architects and the Boston Architectural Club. They both turned her down. Chapman subsequently moved to New York City and in 1907 was accepted as a member by the New York Society of Architects.

Tuckerman Hall - July 27, 2014

Tuckerman Hall - July 27, 2014

Tuckerman Hall today is the home of the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra and hosts dozens of public and private events each year.

REFERENCES
(1) Josephine Wright Chapman and Tuckerman Hall - Tuckerman Hall
(2) The First Women Architects (Pages 60 - 62) - Google Books
(3) 10 Tuckerman Street - City of Worcester Property Records

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THE CARD

Souvenir Poatcard Co., New York and Berlin
NOTE: The title on the front of the card says that this is the “Worcester Women’s Club” but the correct wording should have been “Woman’s” (singular possessive). Thanks for Susan Ceccacci for pointing out this minor but important detail.

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.

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THE CARD

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

Worcester Country Club

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

This postcard is unused (never postmarked).

Worcester Country Club was opened at this location in 1914 and subsequently hosted the U.S. Open in 1925, the Ryder Cup in 1927, and the U.S. Women's Open in 1960. As noted on the face of the card, and rightly so, this was "One of the Finest Tournament Courses in the East."

The golf course itself is a Donald Ross design, one of 413 by him in the United States, and is listed by the Donald Ross Society as being among his best. The photograph below shows that the clubhouse looks much the same today as it did in his time.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester Country Club
(2) Donald Ross Society

Worcester Country Club: October 21, 2014.

Worcester Country Club: October 21, 2014.

THE CARD

Published by Economy Distributors, Inc., Worcester, Mass.
A "Colourpicture" Publication, Boston 15, Mass., U.S.A.