Threadcity Photo Gallery
Blocks
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A "block" has been defined as "a large building divided into separate functional units". In Willimantic, having your own block was a sort of a business success story. From the late 1800s until the early 1950s there were about 30 "blocks" in Willimantic. It is hard to keep track of the names because when a building was sold, the name often changed. For example, the Tilden Block became the Jordan Block. Before the catastrophic fire, the Jordan Block still had the "Tilden" name on the roof lettering. One of the Gelinas Blocks became the Mazzola block....and so on. And around 1900, the street numbering changed drastically. And even with new street numbering in place, the "block" designation sometimes listed different street numbers - for example, the Arnold Block was listed at one time as 820-824 Main and later listed as 820-828 Main.
Adams Block   36-40 Center Street

Although called "The French Club" in later years, until the 1940s this was called "The Adams Block". Over the years, it was home to the Center Street Armory, a small mill, a roller rink,  the Sons of Israel Congregation, several small stores and finally, the Franco-American Civic and Social Club.

Armory Block  255 Pleasant




Armory Block

Arnold Block 820-828 Main Street


This was also known in the 1920s as "The Gelinas-Belanger Block".

Atwood Block


713-715 Main St. Once known as "The Atwood Block".At the time of the photo, it was home to Young’s Lunch as well as a shoemaker, a grocer and several small businesses.

Atwood Block tenants - app. 1920


B & G Lunch was on ground floor. Mitchel Laramie, taxidermist, was in the basement. The Direct Importing Company, the American Supply Company,and Tryon's Real Estate were upstairs.

Atwood Block - app 1903


Bassett Block

The E.A. Buck Block


E. A. Buck was a dealer in Flour, Grain, Feed, Lumber, etc. The company served as millers, and contractors for all kinds of hard-wood lumber, railroad ties, etc., and did both a wholesale and retail business,and included two mills. It was located at No. 89 Main Street. This was before the renumbering of Main St. at which time it became 646 Main St.

Central Building Block -1910

The Central Building stood on the corner of Center and Union Streets. It was home, over the years, to Woods Restaurant, Wood’s Smoke Shop, a billiards room, Potvin’s Barber Shop, Durand’s Barber Shop, a shoe repair shop and a variety store. It was scheduled to be demolished as part of Willimantic's Redevelopment Plan when a fire on Oct. 31,1971 ravaged the building and left 32 people homeless.
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Chapman Block

The Chapman Block was built in 1876, and this 1894 photograph reveals the companies that were in business. On the left at 804 and 806 is A. C. Andrew Music Store. In the Center is T. R. Congdon's stove and tinware store. On the left is an unnamed flour and grain store.



Chapman Block
The Chapman Block became home to the Tin
Tsin Restaurant.

Commercial Block - 661-677 Main Stret

T
his is the Commercial Block. At the time of the photo, the ground floor stores were occupied by the Brick-Sullivan Shoe Company, Harry Rosen’s Department Store and G.H. Alford and Son Hardware Store. It was destroyed in the Saint Valentine's Day fire of 1969.

The Commercial Block


The Commercial Block (661-677 Main St.) and the Turner Building (679-685 Main St.) were destroyed in the Saint Valentine’s Day fire of 1968. At the time the photo was taken, the buildings were occupied by the Grand Union Tea Company, Towne Photographers, Bowman’s Tailor Shop, Yonclas Confectionary, Danahey’s Barber Shop, Dondero’s Pool Room, Hunt’s Clothing Store and Giles Hardware.
 
Cranston Block

European House/Shea Block
At the end of the building’s life, it was occupied by Curran’s Pharmacy. However, the building itself had undergone several renovations over the decades. The actual building was put up in 1861 by A.E. Brooks and was originally a hotel and restaurant. The main occupant was “The European House” and it had access from Railroad St

SEuropean House/Shea Block
The European House building became "The Shea Block" when entrepreneur Dennis Shea bought the building. Shea was also a bottler. Notice the sign for the "Ladies Dining Saloon".

Franklin Hall Block
794-800 Main

Frinck's Block

This photo is of Frinck's Block, one of the few owned by a woman (Mrs. Elnora Frinck). Her store sold crockery and glassware.

Fuller Block

The Fuller Block was at 723-727 Main Street. It was home to the Wilson Drug Company.




Fuller Block


734
738
Gingras 744




Gingras Block
744-746 Main Street

Hall Block - Sullivan Block
Corner of Main and Walnut Streets. The Hall Block was the one time home of The Victorian Lady. The Sullivan Block is the building to the right of the Hall Block.


Thomas Haran's Block


Thomas Haran’s block which housed his soda bottling works at 857 Main Street. Haran used local spring water to produce his soda. He also sold soda dispensing machines throughout New England. Years later, Haran sold the block to Timothy Sullivan who used it to house his automobile dealership and garage


Haran Block

Hayden Block


The Hayden Block was built in 1879 by Whiting Hayden.It had a marble front and the city's first plate glass windows.(Photo courtesy of Jamie Eves)

Heller Block


Hills Block
Dr. Thomas Morton Hills Hospital stood at 17 North Street. It was built in the 1880s and demolished during redevelopment in the early 1970s.

Jordan Block
Before the fire
Jordan Block


This is the Jordan Block  after it was completely rebuilt following the devastating fire of 1916
 

Kimbel Block
Willimantic businessman Stephen Kimbel died at age seventy and left a considerable sum of money to his daughter, Martha Kimbel Chapman. Mrs. Chapman used the money to build one of Main Street’s earliest all brick buildings and, in honor of her father, named it “The Kimbel Block”. Over the years, the block became home to several occupants such as the Willimantic Lighting Company, the Singer Sewing Machine   Company and the Department of Motor Vehicles

Loomer Opera House
The Loomer Block dominated Main St. for several decades. The Loomer Opera House was considered to be the finest theater between Hartford and Providence. It seated 1,200 people in lush surroundings. Many famous vaudeville acts played there, including Buffalo Bill Cody, Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel. Lumber magnate Silas Loomer built it in 1879. Movies were shown there in the 1920s, but it could not compete with the Capitol Cinema. The Opera House was demolished in 1940 and replaced by a new Woolworth's store.The block also housed several other businesses including a pharmacy and a pool hall.

The Mazzola Block and the Heller Block

The Mazzola Block and the Heller Block are seen in this 1964 view of Main Street. Tin merchant Levi Frink built the Heller Block in the 1860s. It was demolished in 1970. The Mazzola Block was originally known as "The Gelinas Block" as well as the Flaherty Block when it was built in 1892 by Daniel Flaherty. It housed saloons and grocery stores until Prohibition. After World War One it became the city's first Italian-American grocery store.


Melony Block

The photo was taken during the 1908 fire that greatly affected the Maverick Laundry and A.C. Blanchette Furniture Store. Insurance covered almost all the losses and the building was quickly fixed up.

       

Melony, Gem, YMCA and Kimbel Blocks
The Melony Block (left) has been repaired after the fire. To the right are the Gem Theater, the YMCA and the Kimbel Block.

Murray Block

Later known as Hurley's , but here it is pictured just two years after it was built on the site of the old Brainerd Hotel. It was built by Scotsman Hugh Murray in 1892, and known by several generations as the Murray Block, or Murray's Boston Store.



Pomeroy Block - Church Street

The Pomeroy Block sat at 44-52 Church Street and was razed during the redevelopment period. In its earliest days, it was the home of the Republican Headquarters, the Blanchette and Hoffman Bakery and the Burnham and Keegan Meat Market. In its final years, Brennan’s Electrical, The Windham Electric Company and Noheimer’s Market were located there

Sadd and McAvoy Blocks

The McAvoy Block is on the left, the Sadd Block on the right.
       

Savings Institute

T
he Willimantic Savings Institute building was the city's first brick block, built in 1869. It was also the first home of the Willimantic Normal School in 1892 -- the teacher training school that has evolved into Eastern Connecticut State University


Savings Institute Block


Shea Block




Sullivan Block


The Tanner Block
Northeast corner of Main and North Streets

Tilden's Block

Tilden's Block displays a sign that reads, “Stoves, crockery, glass, tin ware, furniture, carpets, oil cloths, dry and fancy goods, ladies and children's cloaks and suits.” The block was completely renovated, inside and out, in 1894. The facade was completely redone and a third floor was added. In 1906, Marshall Tilden sold the block to the Jordan Brothers. It became known as the Jordan Block and was destroyed by fire in 1916.

Tilden's Block in 1873

Tilden-Jordan Block
Here is the Tilden Block following the renovation of 1894. Note that the whole front facade has been changed and a third floor added. The photo was taken in 1906 just before it became the Jordan Block and housed the Jordan Hardware Co. It was destroyed in the fire of 1916.

Turner Block

The Turner Block was built in 1877 by English-born merchant, Thomas Turner, who gave his name to Turner Street.

Turner Block/Windham Hotel

The Windham Hotel was part of the Turner Block. The block had many owners over the years and by the time of the 1968 St. Valentine's Day fire, had become an apartment house


Turner Block following the St. Valentine's Day fire.The block survived the 1968 St. Valentine's Day fire, but was demolished in the early 1970s to make way for the Liberty Bank building

Union Block

The Union Block stood on lower Main Street, across from the entrance of Church Street. It was built in 1864 by Allen Lincoln, and demolished in 1974 during redevelopment. The block was considered to be one of the city's premier commercial buildings. The shops pictured are those of C. M. Palmer (boots and shoes), Freeman and Tracy (grocers) and J. B. Baldwin (hats and caps). The second floor of the building housed the offices of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Walden's Block(s)

The Walden Block appears to be the block from 770-776 Main St. At one time, the occupants were  Flint's Drugstore, the Post Office and Stationery/Book Store. In 1890 there were 2 booksellers in Willimantic. One was Charles Utley (at the corner of Main and Church). The other was Sweeney and Dunn in the building pictured this week. In 1890, the address was 170 Main. Sweeney and Dunn advertised their business as the "Willimantic News Depot". They also had a business at 119 Main St. which was called the Brainard House Block. In later years, it looks like the building's right side front was remodeled and a second story added. By 1900, the stationery store was Wm.J. Sweeney and, by the 1950s, Wm J. Sweeney and So

n.




     
Walden Block

The Walden Block in later years.

Tilden's Block

Turner Block

Washburn Block

This is an engraving of "The Washburn Block", a building that was demolished during Willimantic's "Redevelopment" period. Until the erection of the town hall, this building was used for all Town of Windham public meetings. The main floor was used primarily by a funeral parlor and the upper floors were evidently rented rooms and/or apartments. For many years, Hiram Fenn worked an apprentice undertaker at the funeral parlor even as he pursued his hobby of photography. Scores of his historical photos of Willimantic and vicinity are in existence today.



Washburn Block



 
Left of Sweeney's(McAvoy Block)
Sweeney's   772 (Sadd Block)



The Sadd Block (Sears)