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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Front Street
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The Mid-town Mall was created out of the old Woolworths building. If you can identify the Woolworths building from these pictures you have found the Mid-town mall, though finding Woolworths might be a problem.
DiAnna Goughnour - Report this comment
WOW! What a trip down memory lane!I believe the 4th building from the corner was the old Woolworth building. The red brick building on the corner, was the old Ligget's Drug store. I spent many an afternoon after school at the soda fountain sipping a vanilla coke & chatting with friends.
The Woolworth's building is only 2 stories high and is obviously not shown in the bottom 3 pictures. It replaced the white colored buildings (4th & 5th from the corner) shown in these pictures.
Sam Tramontana - Report this comment
I think the best memory of Front St. was Strawberries. It's too bad that large chain stores are hurting great family owned stores like that one.
1968 was the beginning of the end. The Worcester Chamber of Commerce had designs for a new Worcester center. My neighbor was a chamber employee and had the blueprints in hand and revealed them to my father and myself. Oh it was going to be Grand! A Galleria with fountains, large chain stores, an indoor garage parking, plants and lots of glass. Worcester Common was to be redesigned with the removal of the underground toilets and the addition of a beautiful reflecting pool. The plan was in place and nothing would stop it. Everything that had once made downtown Worcester what it was would now be torn down.It was replaced with an indoor Mall (the Galleria) that had fountains that reeked of clorine, the same stores that were cropping up all over the country, an indoor parking garage that was conducive to elimating one's bodily wastes and muggings.Yes there was plenty of glass and a lot of plants but who cared?. Any character Worcester common had was destroyed. The underground toilets were removed. Some said for the better because it had reached a point in time where it was out-moded and unguarded so that it only attracted the seedy side of life. The reflecting pool only reflected one thing, the deep scar that had been left on Worcester. Soon anchor stores like Denholms, Filenes, Woolworths, Grants, etc. closed and Main Street began to attract low end retail. The Galleria flurished for quite a few years until the Malling of America really took over and people no longer had to drive into downtown Worcester to shop. The Galleria met its demise and now houses "outlet" stores. So now it stands the once funky character of a "turn of the century factory city" that should have been preserved was perversly changed into a place of economic disaster.
robert conley - Report this comment
Two points: 1) Looking down Front Street (1932, that red building at the far end of the first block (past radio tower) must be c.t.sherer's, the department store. 2) Further down in second block was movie theater where my mother took me to see "Snow White and the Seven Drawfs."
The Woolworht's building is only 2 stories now because the top 3 stories were knocked down, not sure why though.
Robert Canton - Report this comment
Ligget's at Front and Main was for some reason one of Worcester’s key locations. Bus lines all arrived or departed near this corner, so one would while waiting go into this drug store to check magazines, have a cherry coke at the soda fountain, etc. I had a friend who often ordered banana splits, a special treat, expensive at 45 cents or so. You could tell them what flavors and ingredients you wanted -- nuts, cherry, chocolate sauce, etc. Across Main Street was another fountain, Schrafft's, but this lunch place was not frequented by boys ten to fifteen, my age at the time.
Richard Card - Report this comment
I remember that Front Street was still quite busy in the late 60's and early 70's. Hate to admit it but we would skip school and go there to the stores and the galleria. It was a game to ouywit the truant officers but i think they enjoyed hanging out there as they would just let us kinda slip away. A nice piece of history -to bad we have to grow up.
Michael Klewinski - Report this comment
I am almost sure that Woolworth's was actually on Main St. about 3-4 buildings to the left of the intersection of Main and Front. I think I remember that they were one of the 1st places in town to ever have escalators, quite a thrill to ride at the time.
Joe Concordia - Report this comment
Woolworths, aka "the 5 and 10" was on Front Street, appoximately opposite the city hall back entrance. The store ran through the whole building so that you could cut through from Mechanic St. to Front St. The 5 and 10 had the best soda fountain on Front St. You could get a "tulip sundae" for 15 cents, or a whole hot meal lunch if you wanted it.
Dick Eressy - Report this comment
The store Michael Klewinski referred to on Main Street was the W.T. Grant store. The towers on the C.T. Sherrer building on Front Street belonged to radio station WCTS (named after the store)...which was later bought by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, re-named WTAG. Dick Eressy
I may be wrong, but wasn't the store Mr. Eressy refers to, W.T. Grant on the corner of Main and Foster St. At least, I believe in the 40's and 50's that was the location. As for the escollators in Woolworths, whenever my friends and I went to the movies (remember the Family theater, it was a pigsty, but for 14 cents you could spend all day in there) we always spent some time just to ride up and down.
Wow! This whole website brings back lots of memories. Woolworths was a great place to have a hamburger at the counter, and it did cut through. The underground toilets on the common were quite a challenge even when I used them in the 50's and 60's. Downtown was my place to hang out, my great-aunt worked at Fanny Farmer candies, going toward the courthouse, left had side, just past Franklin Street. Did the W.T. Grant store turn into Kresge's. I worked at the T&G from 1974 - 1978 or somewhere around there, when the blizzard of '78 made me call it quits and move West. I was born at Hahnemann(?) Hospital, attended Woodland St. School, New Woodland Prep, and South High. My brothers still live there - one's a mailman. Lots of memories here! Barb Knox (Siergie), Palm Springs, California
Liggetts at Front and Main and Liggetts on Franklin put tape over the coin slots of the little juke boxes located in every booth to comply with the blue laws. If you tried to dance on Sunday in the 60's, police security would stop you.
Woolworth's was the place to go for a sundae or a burger and fries in the late 60's. If you got a booth in the window of the dining room, you had a birdseye view of the activity at City Hall. Everyone cruised Woolworths to see who was in the dining room. If you weren't a legitimate shopper, the police would ask you to leave the store.
Claire Cameron - Report this comment
What Mr. Conley remembers of a movie theatre near Woolworth's, was the Warner Theatre. Much further down was the older, rather seedy Family Theatre that ran western serials on the weekend. I often wonder how that magnificent structure on Elm St., The Elm Street Theatre with its ornate ceiling and individual side balconies, a real museum in its nature, could possibly have been torn down and not attempted to be preserved. Perhaps the folks who were part of the restoration of buildings in the downtown area were not around at the time of the Elm St Theatre's demise. At least Mechanics Hall is still with us, although a bit different on the inside.
Clayton Gleason - Report this comment
I remember Front Street and Salem Sq. well.As a kid i spent a lot of time on the common behind City Hall and at the Theaters there.Family.Warner.Capital,Royal,Plymouth.Front street was the hub of the city.My parents took my baby pics near the Tulip beds at the common.Homers Hot dogs was a popular place and the bay State restraunt.Also the lunch counter at Union Station.The 2 bus terminals at each end of Salem street were popular for a lunch or coffee.I am 61 now and remember it all like it was yesterday.Worcester was a good place to grow up.I have so many memories of it all.
my best memories of front st were definately strawberrys record store ,after stopping for a hot dog at coney islands i would walk over to strawberrys and usually buy a record this was in the early 80s
joe morin- August 08, 2007 - Report this comment
Ah Front St where on a Saturday am or pm myself and my buddies would take off toward the Family Theater and watch the Three Stooges et al . . The noise, the pandomonium that took place when they came on was outof this world! I remember times when we had to "double up" in our seats to make room for an overflow crowd, imagine that? I remember going to the 5 and 10 and buying those huge bags of popcorn for 10 cents and trying to sneak it in the Family theater. I remember the head usher, in a white jacket and cap, an elderly gentleman who tried to get us, but we outfoxed him, ha! Good memories, good times . .
Al Warhurst- December 05, 2007 - Report this comment
I REMEMBER FRONT ST, FOR ROXY'S CLOTHE'S WHERE YOU COULD BUY A GOOD SUITE WITH TWO PAIR OF PANT'S FOR $49.95. MY GRANDFATHER WORKED FOR THE CITY OF WORCESTER, HE OPERATED THE STEAM SHOVEL. HE WAS A GREAT LITTLE GUY.
Linda Kender- June 18, 2008 - Report this comment
This is for Clayton Gleason. We used to hang out with each other in the 60's. I met you through Arlene Brown when you lived on Providence St. Just wanted to say hello and see if you remember me.
Clay gleason- August 21, 2008 - Report this comment
For Linda Kender. I do remember you from the Green St Area .I am now in Florida and soon moving to Virginia.Was nice to hear from an ole friend.I remember the city well but have verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry little contact with old friends .breeze33776@yahoo.com
Linda (Kender) Soares- September 08, 2008 - Report this comment
For Clayton Gleason. It's nice that you remember me, I don't see anybody I grew up with, I moved away years ago. I have to say I do miss Worcester; I have a lot of nice memories. ljs4@verizon.net
Joseph Hill- June 19, 2009 - Report this comment
One of my most enduring memories was going to the "Fun House" on Front Street where they sold all manner of fun stuff (sneezing powder, itching powder, those buzzers you could hide in your hand for when somebody wanted to shake hands, whoopee cushions, etc.). We kids would always stop there before we caught the bus for Webster.
jim sadowski- June 30, 2009 - Report this comment
Just like Joseph Hill's coments, I remember the "Fun House". Purchased many items there many were beyond my allowance so I had to wait and save many weeks for some items. Big ticket item was a hand held shocker, not the mechanical version but the electric model. It Rocked, wish I still had it, I'd share it with you all. Mom disposed if it after a couple of weeks, as I was getting into trouble with it at school. Not far away fron the Fun House was the "Family Theatre" a very low cost movie house.
michael- July 19, 2009 - Report this comment
I was born and bred in worc. in 1949.I lived on gage st and attended the acad of the sacred heart which was next door to the beautiful st Anne's church where I was an altar boy.I was fortunate enough to see a bit of it,s colorful past before the city fathers in their wisdom destroyed the downtown area with its working class character and turn of the century architecture and replaced it with the galleria mall and more recently the centrum.Two structures that can only be described as places where nothing g ever happens. It breaks my heart.My city is gone.
jim sadowski- July 31, 2009 - Report this comment
Not far away from the fun-house was the pet-shop, always stopped in to see all sorts of pets, turtles to birds, dogs and cats, etc. Front street was SPECIAL lots of small stores doing their thing. But time marches on, no longer "Mom and Pop Stores".
Heather- August 13, 2013 - Report this comment
I am wondering if anyone could give me or direct me to information regarding a brewery that was located at 196 and 198 Front St. in Worcester during the 1800s/early 1900s. I was given an antique beer bottle that is from M.J. Finnigan Co. Circa 1800s. I have tried searching the internet, but to no avail. I am nowhere near MA to go to the library and dig up info. Any info would be greatly appreciated :)
John- May 29, 2014 - Report this comment
To Heather, After a good search I couldn't really find much history of M.J. Finnigan Co. I found a picture of the old factory but it was at night and you can't really gather anything about it. The bottle doesn't seem to be very valuable though. $10-15. But back in the day, you could buy a case of them full for only $1.. boy how times change.

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