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> Gallery 01 - Main St.

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Main Street 1937
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Main St.Nothing defines a town more than its Main St. This album features photos taken through the years. This is one of the earliest photos we have seen. Note that the Main St. side of Lincoln Square has begun to be built up while the Union St. side is still raw land. The houses on Main St. will soon be replaced by brick buildings.
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1890 Main Street, WillimanticThis picture of Main Street, Willimantic was taken in 1890 and shows the towering Loomer Opera House in the center of the picture, and the old Brainerd Hotel on the corner of Church Street. Built in 1850, this was Willimantic's first hotel, built to take advantage of the increased visitation to the town provided by the arrival of the New London Northern Railroad in 1849. It was demolished in 1892 and replaced by the Murray Block.
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This photograph of Lincoln Square was taken in 1905. The J.C. Lincoln building was Willimantic's own triangle building, and made the junction with Union and Main. Also, the central portion of buildings, facing Union and Lower Main, and extending towards Jackson Street and the mills, contained many businesses. The Lincoln Square area was referred to in the 19th century as 'downtown', and was a favoured location for the new town hall, eventually built in 1896 in its current location. The town couldn't obtain the Lincoln Square property as prices were too high, and instead the city fathers went 'uptown' to the junction of Main and Bridge, and much to the chagrin of many built the new town hall there. So Lincoln Square may have been saved if the town hall had replaced the Lincoln Block 'triangle building'.
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Main Street in 1912This photo shows an auto registered to C.W. and E.J. Tryon. It is parked almost in front of 715 Main St. where they had a real estate office. The Irvin House hotel and the sign for Merrill Jones’ Hack and Livery business are on the left side of the photo. We believe the photo was taken in 1912. August 1, 2013 Pic of the Week
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Junction of Main and Railroad Street in 1974This is a photograph taken of the junction of Main and Railroad Street in 1974, just before the building in the corner was demolished. Railroad Street, which originally ran either side of the footbridge was then relocated to the east of the original site. Railroad Street came into existence during the 1850s to improve access to the new railroad depot, built to accommodate the increased traffic though the borough after the arrival of the Hartford and Providence Railroad. The street took further shape after 1
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Christmas Season 1953This week's pic was taken by Armand Biron in 1963 and is used with his permission. At 50 years old, it is one of the few pictures showing the old Christmas decorations on Main St. Note the tree in Lincoln Square, the lights and lighted reindeer on what was then the Sears store, the lights of ATCO’s Number Five and Six mills at top center and even the lights of cars on RT 32 heading toward Jillson Hill. Courtesy of Armand Biron
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Lincoln SquareLincoln Square in Willimantic is barely recognizable in this 1893 photograph. The only building standing today is the Baptist Church. This was the old junction between Main and Union, and it disappeared during redevelopment in the early 1970s. The square was named for carpet salesman John Lincoln.
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Main Street, 1965A bustling Main Street on a busy shopping day in 1965, looking east, before redevelopment and the advent of malls.
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1914 Main Street buildingsThis fine row of Main Street buildings were photographed in 1914. The Melony Block on the left was originally the Congregational Church, built in 1828. It was demolished in the 1930s. The Gem Cinema, on its right, was Willimantic's first custom built movie house. It was built in 1909. Next is the YMCA block, built in 1912. The commercial block at the right was built in 1890, and is still standing, Unfortunately, the two architectural gems in the centre are hidden by decorative concrete blocks, placed there
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Trolley on Main StreetPic of the Week - January 3, 2013 This week's photo shows one of the Willimantic Traction Company's streetcars in front of the "Fuller Block", and the Barbier-Lamoureux clothing store on Main Street. In the background is the Loomer Opera House. Next week we will resume our more challenging pictures to see who can identify them.
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Lincoln Square - 1958The Lincoln Square area of Willimantic is captured in this 1958 photograph. The Lincoln furniture building that gave its name to the square was replaced by a gas station in 1938. Lincoln Square was also the location of a rotary, and an annual, decorated Christmas tree. It disappeared in 1973 during city redevelopment
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Lower Main Street - 1948Looking west along Lower Main Street in January 1948. The Goettlich-Bacon furniture store is on the right. This area was demolished in 1972/73 during redevelopment. The only remaining building is the remodeled Jordan Block, seen on the left of the street.
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Main St. - app. 1965A clue to the date of this Main Street night scene appears on the marquee of the Capitol Cinema, where a double bill is playing, the "Music Man" and "Gypsy." Both films were released in 1962. However, the concrete decorative blocks were placed over the Gem Cinema and the YMCA in 1964, and some of the cars are later models than 1962, so let's say the date is circa 1965. The Savings Institute clock reveals the temperature as 38F and the time as 7:15 pm.
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Main St. - app. 1894This photograph was taken between 1892 and 1894. It depicts the north side of main Street, looking west. The main building visible is Youngs Hotel. This was demolished in 1925 to make way for the Nathan Hale Hotel. Also note that there is no Post Office building (1911) or town hall (1896). But the building that houses the Victorian Lady Restaurant can be seen (1892).
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Main St - app. 1950Another westward view of Main street. This time we are looking at the south side of the street from the Railroad Street junction, circa 1950. Note the Walgreens drug store, a part of Currans Pharmacy, the preponderance of restaurants and retail stores -- and the parking problem. There are less businesses half a century later, but parking is still a pain!
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