Friday Flashback #41

Westport’s Memorial Day parade seems timeless.

I don’t know when it began — perhaps in 1868, when “Decoration Day” first honored Civil War veterans — but anyone now alive who grew up here has strong memories of the downtown tradition.

The route changes. So do businesses along the way. And of course, fashions.

But — as these photos (courtesy of David Barton) show — Memorial Day in Westport always draws a crowd.

When the parade marched south on Main Street, the Post Road was anchored by Colgan’s drug store and luncheonette. Next to it were (in order) Colonial restaurant, Gristede’s grocery store and Marvel’s Bakery. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

The parade then made a quick turn onto Taylor Place, before ending at Jesup Green.

12 responses to “Friday Flashback #41

  1. Fred Cantor

    Wonderful pics. Are these from David “Bubba” Barton? If so, what year was this? Thanks.

    • David Barton

      Hi Fred, I think my dad took these pics. I’m not completely sure because he swapped photos from his files with a lot of other illustrators. They could be another artist’s photos.
      We moved here in spring of ’54, so if they were taken by him, this would have to be the 1954 parade or later.
      I never knew Gristede’s was located on State Street. When did it move to Main Street?

      • Fred Cantor

        I too only knew Gristede’s on Main Street. The old phone directories in the library would indicate roughly when that move happened. Thanks.

        • Sharon Paulsen

          And I think Gristede’s remained on Main St. throughout the 70’s and maybe early 80’s too, is that correct.

          If I recall (I was quite young), my mother took me shopping there one day and Paul Newman was nearby, picking up some stuff. She told me quietly who he was, and I think she referenced “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” so I would understand who he was.

          But, this is a really vague memory for me, so I might have the details mixed up with later encounters of Newman around town.

          Thanks for sharing these images … sooo cool. I’m going to share these with my parents! (They don’t subscribe to 06880 directly … so, I like to send them these nostalgic posts. My Dad doesn’t “do” internet, and my mom likes to keep it to a “minimum”. Heck, I don’t blame them, lol!)

          Thanks again!

        • in the 40s and early 50s Gristedes was on Main St., kind of across
          from Kleins. My mom would call at ten a.m., ask for Al, read him her
          shopping list, drive down from Kettle Creek to Walt’s Mobil on Main.
          Bob Kegler would gas up the car, and then park it up against the Myrtle
          Avenue retaining wall while we would walk down to Gristede’s. the bags
          would be ready, Mom’d pay. walk back to Walt’s, Bob would bring the car
          around by the news stand (corner of Myrtle and Main), and it was back to Weston and Hickory Gate, our home on Kettle Creek Road.

  2. Melinda Hemson Dubowsky

    Great pictures! The Memorial Day Parade was huge in my family. My grandfather, George Quigley, would make sure that we all went every year. Sadly, he passed away on Memorial Day 1978. My other Grandfather, Stewart Hemson was Grand Marshall one year and marched every year until he passed in 1992. He was in charge of the poppy sales for the VFW for many years and they always had a float. I even got to be “Poppy Girl” when I was about 5 or 6.
    Thanks for sharing David and Dan!

  3. Susan Huppi

    Fond memories of the parade. We used to go early when some of us were in brownies or girl scouts…or band. I had forgotten the name of the bakery…thanks! Fond memories of their eclairs!!

  4. Dorothy Abrams

    To everyone who I saw once a year standing on the post office steps–a fond hello full of good memories.

  5. Katherine Bruan

    These are so great!

  6. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    Wonderful Memories. I remember marching as a Girl Scout and watching many, many times.

  7. Hanne Jeppesen

    I remember those parade’s, also the 4th of July parade. I lived in Westport from Jan 67 to Oct. 68 and visited several times a year in 69 and early seventies, especially on 3 day week ends. Loved the parades, so different from what I was use to in my native Denmark. Years ago when I saw the movie “Born on the 4th of July” with Tom Cruise, the scenes with the parade reminded me of Westport.

  8. I think Gristedes was on Main Street next to Achorns Pharmacy and then moved down the street on the other side, kind of across from Kleins. Lou was the best!