Threadcity Photo Gallery

Pre-1930 Businesses

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The Laramee Company

The Laramee Company was Willimantic's first meat market to have refrigerated cases installed.

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The Laramee Company
This is the interior of The Laramee Company meat market and grocery store on North Street. It was owned by Pierre J. Laramee (on the far right of the picture) who went on to become Mayor of Willimantic and a State Senator



1881 photo of the Tanner Block

The Tanner Block was owned by Oscar O. Tanner, who was a Mayor of Willimantic.
 
 



Hormisdas Dion's Businesses

 (The two story house is still in existence.) The buildings housed the businesses of Hormisdas Dion. His extensive retail store consisted of a bakery, grocery store, meat market and he sold grain, wood and coal. At the height of his business he used 3 trucks and 5 teams for delivery of goods.

       

 
Law Office of J. Hamilton
 

 
Jackson Sumner Garage circa 1925

Moses Batro

 


Dennis O'Shea's Bottling Works

Willimantic entrepreneur Dennis Shea operated a bottling works out of this building. He dealt in wine, beer, ales and mineral water from the late nineteenth century until 1905. Shea owned several other buildings in the city.

 



Gilbert's Saloon
The saloon was run by Nelson Gilbert and later by Albert Gilbert. It was located at 81 Main Street


Thread City Garage

The Thread City Garage was located off Main St. in back of where the present day Nathan Hale Hotel stands. Parts of the brick walls are standing today and can be seen to the left of the present day firehouse. A spectacular fire in 1915 ruined that garage as well as the Natchaug Garage and the Johnson House Hotel. The Thread City Garage rebuilt and remained in business until sometime in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Armand Biron.

 

Louis Feiner's "Mechanics Department Store

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The picture is of Louis Feiner’s "Mechanics Department Store" in the Franklin Hall Block on Main Street. Louis feiner also conducted business at "The Windham House Hotel". He leased another store in the Hall Block on Union Street and opened a ladies cloak and millinery store.


Fullerton Fournier

The interior of the Fullerton Fournier clothing store is decorated for Christmas. The women’s clothing store, located at 692 Main St.(part of what was once called "The Union Block" - it was just opposite Church Street) , was started by James Fullerton in the early 1900s. In 1934, Albert Fournier, who had bought the store previously, reorganized the store and incorporated it as Fullerton-Fournier.


Dry goods peddler Sam Haddad and his son

They are in front of 62-66 Church Street. The store on the left belonged to Hiram Fenn. Fenn was not only an undertaker but also a photographer and picture frame maker. He took many of the vintage photos of Willimantic that were turned into postcards. The other store belonged to grocer Frank Blish. 


Interior of the First National Bank.

This photo shows the interior of the First National Bank on Main St. The bank “crashed” in 1895 after being audited and found $125,00 short. This was due to forgeries committed by the bank’s Cashier, Oliver Risley. After his suspicious death, the estate sold his magnificent home to then Mayor George Harrington. In 1903, the Maple Avenue property was bought by the Rev. Arthur de Bruycker and became St. Mary’s Convent.



W.B. Carr Company

The W.B. Carr Company at 744 Main Street. The company sold “high quality men’s clothes, hats and furnishings”.


Kramer's Dairy delivery wagon.

 
Kramer Dairy delivery wagon. The Kramer family operated a dairy, a dairy bar and a greenhouse on Windham Road.


Adam's Express

This is the Adam’s Express delivery wagon at the company’s business office at 850 Main Street (The Kimbel Block). Also in the building was the Willimantic Gas and Electric Company office.


Turner and Commercial blocks
first floor businesses
This photo was taken on Church Street and shows the delivery wagon of the Thompson Meat Market and the bottom floor businesses - Thompson's Store, Apothecaries Hall and Charlie Lee’s Laundry.

The Loomer Opera House Billiard Room
 This was the “Opera House Billiard Room”. It was located on the North Street side of Loomer’s Opera House. The Loomer Opera House building, on the northwest corner of North and Main Streets, was razed in 1939 after being in Willimantic for almost 80 years.
 

Loomer Opera House Billiard Room

Abraham Krug's Lunch Cart

Abraham Krug is seen outside his first first lunch cart. It was located on Union Street where the railroad tracks went across to Main Street. Years later he moved to a location on Main Street between Watson Street and Arnold’s Lane.




Thread City Candy Kitchen

The Thread City Candy Kitchen was located at 661 Main Street. It was run by the Peter Yonclas family. It was located in what was known as the Kelgwin Block at 661-667 Main Street. The block was destroyed in the Valentine’s Day fire of 1968.


Willimantic Beef Company

This is the building at 640 Main St.[Prior to Main Street being renumbered, it was 80 Main St.] In the 1890s, William Tiffany had a meat market there. At the time of the photo, it was occupied by the Willimantic Beef Company. After Willimantic Beef, Swift and Company took over the building. In the late 1950s, Willimantic Frozen Food was located there. In the 70s, the building was razed as part of the redevelopment project.


Alonzo Spellman's Market

Spellman’s Market was located at 27 Church Street and operated from 1902 through 1958






Hall and Bill Printing Co.

The Hall and Bill Printing Company was located on North St. It was one of the nation's oldest printing businesses. Reader "Nick" said the building is still there and now occupied by Perception Programs. At the time of the photo, it was also the home of “The Willimantic Journal”.

Chesbro's Pharmacy
Here is the interior of Chesbro’s Pharmacy when it was located in the Loomer Building. Chesbro later sold the business to Bay State Drugs but continued on with his other occupation, making patent drugs for the relief of a multitude of symptoms.


Archie Wood's Cafeteria

This is interior of Archie Wood’s Cafeteria. It was located in the Central Building at 28-30 Union St. and shared the storefront with Woods Smoke Shop. The smoke shop was run by Arthur Dubreuil. Mr. Dubreuil also developed Wood's Field on Jackson (site of the present Terry Court housing development). Wood's Field was used for baseball games and citywide gatherings for many years.


Jordan Hardware

This photo shows the Jordan Hardware Company as it was decorated for the July 4, 1910 festivities. The company had moved into its new quarters in the completely renovated Tilden Block. Note the newly published "1909 Aero Map of Willimantic" featured in the right hand window.


Clark-Hurley Hardware Company

(left to right) Burt Trowbridge, Herbert Clark, James Hurley and Jay E. Grant are shown inside the Clark-Hurley Hardware Company. Clark sold his share to Grant and the company became the one we all knew – Hurley-Grant Hardware on the corner of Railroad and Main Streets.




H.C. Murray Company


Here is the H.C. Murray Co. (Boston Store) building with its delivery wagon in front. At that time, the storefront also included the Union Shoe Store which was run by Charles Risedorf who lived on North St. 


Worden's Tea Room.

Worden’s Tea Room at 769 Main Street (later this building was replaced by Brown’s Department Store). The Tea Room was there in 1925 but was in business less than two years due to the death of Mr. Worden.


Odell Chapman's Delivery Truck 


Delivery Wagon of the A.C. Andrews Music Co

.This is the delivery wagon of the A.C. Andrew Piano and Music Store. In the early 1900s, the store, which sold “musical goods of every description, pianos, organs and stationery”, was located at 804 Main Street in the Chapman Block (known also as the Tin Tsin Building).

A.C. Andrew


Whiton-Martin Trucking Company

This is a 1917 two ton Kissel motor truck owned by the Whiton-Martin Trucking Company. It had ben purchased from Burnham Bros. Both were Willimantic businesses. There is very little information available about either business. This photo appeared to be more of an advertising photo for the truck.

Tubridy-Weldon Company

It's the official opening of the Tubridy Weldon Store on Main Street in April 1916

Caillouette's Refrigerator Cart

. The photo of the M.A. Caillouette Store’s Refrigerator Cart was taken in front of the Boston Store. Caillouette’s store was at 921 Main St , just about where the Post Office is today.

Willimantic Cash Store (Kaplan's Market?)

This photo had an inscription on the back saying “Kaplan’s Market” but our research could not find a market by that name. The sign leads us to think it was the Willimantic Cash Store which was located at 17 Union Street. Years later the building was owned by Dr. Arthur Girouard. The last store to be located in that building was Martin’s Home Appliances when the building was razed as part of the redevelopment program of the 70s.

Atwood Block storefront and
D.H. Henken


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. The oldest photos of Willimantic show it as a 3-4 story building. The 1889 City Directory shows the Main St. storefront as housing “D.H. Henken – Merchant Tailor, Atwood Block” 

The Willimantic Savings Institute

The Willimantic Savings Institute building pictured in 1928, just before renovations covered the original design. It was built in 1870, and was the first home of the Windham Normal School. Note the A & P store to the right. The Savings Institute was formed in 1842, and was located in the building now the home of Schillers Sewing Machines.


Marrotte's Grocery

Marrotte's Grocery

Charles Marrotte (forefront) was owner of this butcher shop located somewhere over the river in Willimantic. Standing in back is Charles Jr. Picture taken approximately 80 years ago, 1930's, we guess. (photo courtesy of Steve Marrotte)

Willimantic Gas and Electric Light Company -

These were buildings belonging to the Willimantic Gas Co. and the Willimantic Electric Light Company. They merged in 1900 and the total value of the new company was said to be $120,000. In 1909, the company was bought out by the Rockville-Willimantic Lighting Co. At that time, electricity ceased being produced in Willimantic and was bought from other companies and sent over new transmission lines to Willimantic.

Windham National BankThis was the home of the Windham National Bank. Windham National moved into the building in January, 1896. The building was originally the home of the First National Bank. That institution went insolvent after a scandal involving its treasurer and some missing funds.

George Nason's Lumberyard.

Corner of Valley and Church Streets
George Nason’s Lumberyard  burned on Feb. 13, 1894. At the time it burned, it was across the street from the original police headquarters and Town Hall. By 1895, the lot had been proposed as one of the possible sites for a new Town Hall. Eventually “the Chase lot” on the corner of High and Main was chosen. The Nason lumberyard later became Willimantic Lumber and Coal.

Samuel Amidon's Grocery Store

The former Victorian Lady building is pictured shortly after its erection in 1892, when it served as Samuel Amidon's Grocery Store, replete with the smell of "salted cod and molasses."

Joseph Lewis' Canning Factory

The Lewis Canning Factory was on upper North St. It burned down in 1894, two years after it was built. Joseph Lewis had a 20,00 square foot glass enclosed building and cultivated 100 acres near Jackson St.

<<click to see Tom Beardsley's article>>



22 Bank St.The 1888 City Directory says the location was used by the Maxwell Brothers Livery Stable. In 1899, Thomas Smith ,successor to the Smith Brothers, had an ad in the Directory promoting his business. It read, “Livery and Undertaker (Hearses and carriages furnished for funerals). By 1915 the building went back to being a simple livery stable run by Dana Morton. By 1930, the new ways had taken over and the location was used by Chauncey McFarlane Autos. In 1935 the site had become the “Club Paradise Restaurant and by 1944 it was vacant. By 1948 either a new or renovated building housed Roy Motors. Roy Motors stayed there until 1969 when the building went vacant again and by 1974, it was gone…..lost to the redevelopment plan.

Henry Whitford's Bakery210 Walnut Street

. Henry Whitford's Bakery.
 
Cardinal Saloon

Cardinal Saloon

This is the interior of the Cardinal Saloon, located in Sodom at Cardinal Square. It was open from 1909-1919 and was run by Sylvanie Cardinal. It was one of the centers of French-Canadian social life.


Mechanics Department Store

This is Louis Feiner's store at 796 Main Street in the Franklin Block. He sold dry goods, clothes and accessories. He went out of business in 1913 and clothier John Bowman moved his business to this location.


E.P. Chesbro's Dealership

E.P. Chesbro's automobile dealership at Main and Windham St. (in later years, Benny's was located there). L to R : Fred Little, E.P. Chesbro, Leslie Nichols, Walter Brown, John Upton.



Louis Arnold's Insurance Agency.


Amos B. Adams' Insurance Agency
House
(built in 1862) at corner of Union and Center St. Left to right: Amos B. Adams, Mrs. Sumner, Mrs. Adams, Nellie Sumner, Dr. Edwin Sumner. Picture is prior to 1884.


Lincoln and Boss Lumberyard

The photo is of the Lincoln and Boss Lumberyard which was on the west side of North Street and ran parallel to Meadow St. It was bought out in 1924 by the Willimantic Lumber and Coal Co. and their stock (from the North St. location and their storage area at the railroad station) was moved to the Church Street location of Willi Lumber and Coal.

 

Burt Thompson's Grocery Store

This was the grocery store owned by Burt Thompson. It was located in Franklin Hall at 798 Main St

The H.E. Remington Company

Remington's Clothing Store was located at 766 Main Street in the Sadd Block.Established in 1876, it was considered, for several decades, to be Willimantic’s premier men’s clothing store.


Adams and Company Meat Market
In this pic, we'll start with the building at the very left of the picture. That is 931 Main St. and was once known as "the Gelinas Block" and then "the Mazzola Block". The middle building (with the Eagle Ale sign) is the saloon of Arthur McQuillan. McQuillans was a popular spot. Notice that the sign actually spells his name wrong. While it was "McQuillan in newspaper ads and the city directory, the sign says "McQuillian" - with an extra "i". Maybe it was painted by a patron who had one too many. The building on the right of McQuillan's (the two story house with a business on the street level) was 921-927 Main St. with "S. Adams and Co. Meat Market" at 921. Today it is the site of the Willimantic Public Library. Determining street numbers of past buildings is not always an exact science when applying them to today's buildings. The Library today is listed at 905 Main. Many of the buildings in earlier years consisted of 2 or more addresses depending upon how many floors a building had.


Adams and Company Meat Market




29 Jackson Street (left)

This building was at 29 Jackson St. It was both home and office to Dr.Charles H. Girard. Dr. Girard and his wife are pictured on the second floor porch. We could find no information at all about Perilli the Italian Grocer. The information I had came from handwritten notes found at the Chronicle. The notes indicated that the building in the Pic of the Week was replaced by a new building. We have another picture and will get that on the site. In the 50s, the building was occupied by the Girard Agency and, of course, the Wonder Bar Restaurant as well as a package store.

Latham and Crane's Lumberyard

 It sat just north of where Bank St. ends at Valley Street and was accessed from Spring St. The company offered contracting and building services and sold paint, oil and varnishes.



Carpenter and Fowler






The Remington Company

Main Street businesses

This building on Main Street is now occupied by The Shoesmith. At the time of the photo it was home to Hugh Anderson's paint and wallpaper business. In the 50s it was home to "Laundromart".

 
Rosen's Auto Supply

It was located at 628 Main Street. Many people may remember that in later years, the storefront was occupied by “City Lunch”.

The Thread City Beauty Parlor

It is pictured here shortly after its opening. John Potvin Jr., Louise and their son Arthur can be seen in the doorway of their new business. Also note Dr. Girouard's office above the shop. The building was located almost opposite the Baptist Church, and was demolished in 1973

The Surprise Store - 29 Jackson St.

 “The Surprise Store”, was a clothing store that was on Jackson Street. It was owned by Samuel Eisenberg who is seen posing with his wife and an employee. The family of Dr. Girard, a prominent city physician and businessman, is on the second floor porch.

The Willimantic Carriage and Jobbing Shop

C.A. Hawkins' Willimantic Carriage and Jobbing Shop was located at the corner of Jackson and Ash St. It was later moved a short distance away and today is being used as a storage area for a private residence
 
Astmann's Market

Astmann's was located at 25 Center Street. He was a sausage maker, grocer and meat dealer.
Photo courtesy of Steve Marrotte

Joseph Astmann

Photo courtesy of Steve Marrotte

Willimantic Lumber and Coal.The picture is  of the Tudor-style exterior of the Willimantic Lumber and Coal Building from the Church Street side shortly after completion around 1920.


This is the corner of Main and North Street Before Todd's, the QVCC building housed The Enterprise. Prior to being demolished, the building pictured housed a variety of businesses including a large clothing store in the early 1920s.

Lincoln's Furniture






The Lincoln Furniture building, formerly known as “The Cushman Block”,  was originally erected by J. Ellsworth Cushman. In 1874, John C. Lincoln purchased the building from Cushman and conducted his well-known furniture business from that location.


 




 

 
 


Meritt Welch Real Estate

Chaplin resident Merritt Welch stands in front of his real estate office on North Street. In 1912, Mr. Welch became the State Senator from the 29th district. It was said that his popularity was due in large part to the acquaintances he made through his business.

   
       








 


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.

Bugbee's

Built by Henry A. Bugbee in 1904-5 to house his feed and grain operation which had started out at 814 Main St. In 1922, the building was occupied by the Willimantic Grain Co. In 1955 it was the Star Furniture Company. Today it is home to WAIM. Paul Ashton wrote that he "remembered STAR Furniture run by Sam Moskowitz. A very nice and funny guy I recall. "

The Boston Furniture Store

 E.F. Casey’s “BostonFurniture Store”  was located on Lower Main St. at Thread Mill Square. An early ad says that Mr. Casey sells, “Furniture, Carpets, Crockery, Stoves, Ranges, and everything in the House Furnishing Line. Also Steam-ship Tickets Sold. If certain goods be warranted to have certain qualities, the guarantee is strictly adhered to, and should it prove not to be justified by the facts, the matter will be made right, promptly and cheerfully, for this gentleman acts on the policy that he cannot afford to have an honestly dissatisfied customer, and he doesn't propose to have one if he can avoid it.”

First National Bank

The new First National Bank building. After a brief existence (including a scandal involving the head teller) the bank was absorbed by the Windham National Bank. Later on, a new building at the same location housed the Windham National Bank and the Connecticut Bank and Trust Co. The building at that location today is the home of the Windham Theatre Guild and Burton Leavitt Theatre.
 

The Jordan Auto Company

The company started out as Chesbro Brothers Automobiles and was bought by Jordan in 1913. The dealership occupied the building that many of us remember as Benny’s.
 
 

 

       
 

   

   
Fernando P. Strong seafood of all types and especially oysters either wholesale or retail. His market and attached "Oyster Saloon" was located at was located at 28 North Street.
 

Vanderman's Foundry on Mansfield Avenue. Years before he built the big plant on Mansfield Ave., Vanderman started out with a shop on Church St. and later moved it to Valley St. The inset in the illustration is the Valley St. building. His specialty was first-class plumbing and low pressure steam and hot water heating. By 1878 he was also manufacturing quite a number of his patent plumbing specialties and heavy steel tool chests used by railroads and construction trades. Some of the smaller chests were used by The Wells Fargo Express Co. and were used as boot-boxes on stage coaches.

<see Tom Beardsley's article>>

D.P. Comtois

Comtois was located at 824 Main Street and dealt in new and second hand furniture and house furnishings. He also doubles as an undertaker and embalmer.

Hotel Hooker

The Hotel Hooker opened for business in 1887. It has recently been renamed the Seth Chauncey House, and is being purchased by a New York City based group called Common Ground to provide low cost accommodations.
  

H.E. Remington

Established in 1876, it was considered, for several decades, to be Willimantic’s premier men’s clothing store.
   

 

       
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