Steve Baldwin is the gift that keeps on giving.
In the 1960s he took tons of photographs, all around town. Now he posts them on Facebook.
And I steal them (with credit) for “06880.”
This one shows a very familiar downtown scene.
It looks nearly the same as it did 60 years ago.
Except back then:
Connecticut National Bank had not been gobbled up in successive waves of takeovers.
And the Minute Man stood proudly over the time and temperature sign, which …
… Actually worked.
Hold on to your hats…..he has a photo of me and him driving his “car” complete with his puppy on Rockyfield Rd.
Few old timers miss the Connecticut National Bank. It was to money what Shop Rite is to food. The real class act was across the street: Westport Bank & Trust, which financed my dad’s business start up, and so many others. (Like Sally’s Place, as Dan reported in the past.)
Yes, I miss banks like Westport Bank & Trust
I sure do miss Westport Bank & Trust. I opened my first bank account at the Greens Farms office in the distinctive yellow converted house.
Re: Bill Coley’s comment, “Yes, I miss banks like Westport Bank & Trust.” My mother, Denise “Denny” Davidoff, worked for a Westport advertising agency in the early 1960s and then opened her own ad agency in Fairfield Center and later moved the offices to downtown Westport. A huge part of her clientele was comprised of local Connecticut banks — Merchants National Bank of Norwalk, Mechanics & Farmers Savings Bank of Bridgeport, New Haven Savings Bank, and banks whose names I’ve forgotten in Simsbury, Rockville, Norwich, and more. These banks sometimes had three or four branch offices, but they were tight-knit, service-oriented, community-minded pillars of their cities or towns. Mom really admired Westport Bank & Trust. I don’t know if she ever pitched her ad services to them. I suspect not because Merchants Bank in Norwalk and M&F Bank in Bridgeport had branches which directly competed with Westport B&T. Banking consolidation swallowed up so many small Connecticut banks. The survivor was People’s Savings Bank of Bridgeport, which acquired many banks in New York State and across New England. Mom for years said People’s deserved to be the survivor; it had the best team of bankers in the state. Renamed People’s United Bank, it was the largest bank based in New England until it was acquired by M&T Bank of Buffalo, N.Y. We await the roll-out of the M&T identity in Connecticut which will mark the loss of Connecticut as headquarters of the leading regional bank. (Apologies to up & comers like Webster Bank, etc., based in Connecticut.)
I want to comment on Bill Coley’s comment, “Yes I miss banks like Westport Bank & Trust.” The big story, of course, is the decimation of Connecticut banking through consolidation. My mother, Denise “Denny” Davidoff of Westport, began a career in bank advertising and marketing when she joined a small Westport ad agency (the C.A. Smith & Co. located at Compo Acres and then at Brooks Corner) in the early 1960s. Among her accounts were Merchants National Bank in Norwalk and Mechanics & Farmers Savings Bank in Bridgeport. Mom opened her own ad agency in the mid-1960s using a $5,000 loan from her mother, Bunnee L. Taft of Westport. Merchants Bank and M&F Bank followed her to the new agency, which had offices first in Fairfield Center and later in downtown Westport. The bulk of Mom’s client list was community banks across Connecticut: Merchants, M&F, New Haven Savings Bank, and banks whose names I’ve forgotten in Simsbury, Rockville, Norwich, and other towns. These banks were all small by today’s standards with perhaps three or four branch offices. They were service minded and participated in their community. In short, they were like Westport Bank & Trust. Mom greatly admired Westport Bank & Trust but I don’t know if she ever pitched her services to Westport B&T. I suspect she could not because branches of M&F and Merchants would have competed directly with Westport B&T. Of course, all these banks are long gone, devoured by bigger banks. The survivor in Connecticut banking was People’s Savings Bank of Bridgeport, later People’s United Bank. People’s purchased other banks across New England and New York State and became the largest bank headquartered in New England. (Yep, right in Bridgeport!) Mom told me that People’s deserved to win the competition in Connecticut because it had the best team of bankers in the state. Sadly, People’s was acquired a year ago by M&T Bank of Buffalo, N.Y., and we await the re-branding of People’s to M&T Bank across Connecticut, New England, and New York State. With apologies to up and comers like Webster Bank, we say goodbye to Connecticut banking leadership at the regional level.
AH YES . . .THE WESTPORT BANK AND TRUST WAS THE BANK FOR WESTPORTERS. YOU KNEW EVERYONE WHO WORKED THERE AND THEY KNEW YOU. DOING BUSINESS THERE WAS EASY AND PERSONAL. IF MY EARLY ONSET DEMENTIA DIDN;T GET IN THE WAY I COULD PROBABLY RATTLE OFF A FEW NAMES . . .ARNOLD LEVINE, ELEANOR F . . .?.
THSE WERE THE DAYS . . .
We’re always happy to see Steve’s photos of my hometown! He was our wedding photographer in September 1966 and we treasure his work.