Kimbel's Block
by Pete Zizka


The building in today’s antique postcard view was known as “Kimbel’s Block”.Stephen Kimbel was known as, “a prudent, economical, industrious citizen, taking quite an interest in public affairs”. Mr. Kimble put up a building on Main Street which served as his residence and his boot and shoemaking shop. He 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. In 1904, Harry Gale opened Willimantic’s first movie theater in the Kimbel block and charged five cents for a thirty minute show. Those who lived in Willimantic in the 50s and 60s may remember the Kimbel Block as home to Hyde’s Magazine Shop, Dr. G.A. Cailouette’s office, Foster’s Real Estate or Joe’s Keyway. The Kimbel Block still exists at 850-856 Main Street and today is home to two Willimantic businesses, the Pan del Sinai Bakery and Garo’s Place restaurant. For questions or comments about this  week’s photo or, please e-mail us at “”.


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