Last week’s “06880” story about downtown holiday decorations drew plenty of comments. Many readers recalled with fondness the ghosts of Christmases past. Main Street, they remembered, was alive with lights and garlands. It was a bright, magical winter wonderland.
That may have been true. But not in 1975.
On Christmas Day that year, Fred Cantor drove through town. He captured several scenes. The other day — sparked by the nostalgic debate — he unearthed those photos.
Snow had fallen earlier. The plowed, shoveled and congealed streets and sidewalks have that bleak midwinter look.
There’s nary a star, ornament or whimsical Santa on any pole. You don’t see any twinkling lights either.
The only wreaths are on Sport Mart (far left).
But the view of the Mobil station (now Vineyard Vines) brings back fond memories. Every year — a few days before Christmas — owners Gene and Mary Hallowell lowered the hydraulic lifts. They covered them with table cloths. Then they laid out a feast.
The party was supposed to be for loyal customers. But anyone could wander by for food and (of course) drink.
And everyone did.
Further down Main Street, Fred found this:
The Remarkable Book Shop hummed with activity at holiday time. It was the perfect place for gifts — there were toys, puzzles and trinkets, plus a joyfully eclectic collection of books, maps and whatnot — as well as a great spot for curling up in an easy chair to read, relax or just people-watch.
But the Remarkable Book Shop did not go all out with holiday decorations either. In fact, as Fred’s photo shows, in 1975 there were none.
One place did get into the holiday spirit.
And with good reason: The Corner Spirit Shop — on Wilton Road, at the Post Road West intersection — was one of the most visible spots in town.
Plus — then, as now — a liquor store hops at holiday time.
So of course they threw a couple of wreaths on their windows.
That’s what Westport looked like, 42 years ago this holiday season.
The Sport Mart is gone. Remarkable, too. And — as of a few weeks ago — the building that housed the Corner Spirit Shop is only a fond memory.
Just like some of those Christmas decorations of yore.