Threadcity Photo Gallery

Main Street


Main Sreet

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.

1890 Main Street, Willimantic

This 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.

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'.


Lincoln Square

Lincoln 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.

Main Street in 1912

This 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.

Main Street in the 1920s

A view of Willimantic's Main Street in the 1920s. The Loomer Opera House can be seen on the left, and Lincoln Square is in the distance.

Lincoln Square - 1958

he 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

Main St. - 1973



Main St. - 1937

This view was taken in 1937 from Lincoln Square looking west down Main Street. Note how the Loomer Opera House on the north side dominate

Main St from Lincoln Square

Lower Main Street - 1948

Looking 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.

Lower Main Street, 1963

This is the railroad crossing on Lower Main Street, pictured in 1963. The building on the right is the Jillson House, now the home of the Windham Historical Society. The façade and sign of the Windham Diner can be seen just further up the street.

Cardinal Square-2 Cardinal Square-2

Main St. app. 1910

This is a circa 1910 view of Main Street, Willimantic, looking westward. Note the trolley tracks in the middle of the road. This proves the photograph was taken after 1903, the year the tracks were laid. On the left is an automobile, but note the numerous horse drawn vehicles. This was also the period Main was graced with elm trees. They perished in the 1920s because of Dutch Elm Disease. Above the automobile is an ad for a vaudeville troupe appearing at the Loomer Opera House. Also note the telegraph and telephone poles.

Trolley on Main Street

 One of the Willimantic Traction Company's streetcars is in front of the "Fuller Block", and the Barbier-Lamoureux clothing store on Main Street. In the background is the Loomer Opera House.

1914 Main Street buildings

This 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.

Main St. - app. 1894

This 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).

Junction of Main and Railroad Street

This 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 the footbridge was built.

Christmas Season 1953

This week's pic was taken by Armand Biron in 1963 and is used with his permission. At almost 60 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
Main St. - app. 1965

A 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.

Main Street, Willimantic

This fascinating photograph was provided by Richard Shea. It was taken by Connecticut Light and Power in October, 1951 to demonstrate the brightness of the new street lights the company had jut installed on Main Street. The view is to the east, of the south side of the street.

Main St - app. 1950

Another 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 fewer businesses half a century later, but parking is still a pain!

Main Street, 1965

A bustling Main Street on a busy shopping day in 1965, looking east, before redevelopment and the advent of malls.


Left side of a Main Street Panorama photo
The pictures below are from additional sources and have yet to be sorted (and captioned). There may be duplicates of some already posted. We're just trying to get them uploaded quickly. (3-1-2023)
Right side of a Main Street Panorama photo




Photo courtesy of Paul Goettlich

Photo courtesy of Paul Goettlich
Photo courtesy of Randy O'Rourke