The other day, Steve Baldwin uploaded a treasure trove of photos to Facebook.
Taken in December 1967 — more than 50 years ago — they show a downtown that is both substantially different from, yet basically the same, as today.
The Post Road (aka State Street)/Main Street intersection shown below included Muriel’s Trolley Diner (underneath the traffic light), a smoke shop, and a row of wooden buildings that later burned to the ground. We also see a car turning into what was apparently 2-way traffic on Taylor Place.
The handsome building on the right — more obscured today — was the Westport Public Library. In front was a public park, taken over around that time by young people hanging out, playing guitars and (according to lore) selling and using drugs — hence the nickname “Needle Park.” Today that downtown oasis — meant to be open space in perpetuity — has been smothered in concrete.
This shot, looking north on Main Street, includes Welch’s — one of 3 hardware stores on the block — and, beyond the 3-story building, Greenberg’s. Within no more than a year or two of this photo, that decades-old store selling things like needles and thread closed. It was a victim of a roof collapse after a heavy snow, and changing tastes in retail.
Check out the traffic light in the middle of Main Street.
A few yards further north, we see Charles Food Store (one of 2 grocery markets on Main Street), and just beyond it, Sport Mart (before its 2nd floor was built). Although these photos were taken in December, the only Christmas decorations seem to be a few wreaths on Sport Mart.
Note the 2-way traffic on Main Street, too.
This view of Main Street, looking south, includes Klein’s department store — later Banana Republic — on the left before its 2nd story was added on.
Thanks, Steve Baldwin, for these photos. Note to “06880” readers: We’re always looking for Friday Flashback images. If you’ve got good ones, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.