A place to recall and celebrate the wonderful stores of a Downtown Boston now alive only in our memories

Monday, 30 August 2010

J Shares Her Memories of Boston Shopping Pre- 1958

Hello, My Retro Boston Fans!

J wrote and shared some wonderful memories from pre-1958 Boston and the shopping scene she recalled. I asked a few questions and she answered with some great little surprises...I never knew there was a milk bar for children in Jordan Marsh....neat!!

Here are some of her memories for you to enjoy:

I've been away from Boston since 1958.....and much has probably changed.
Anyway - sister and I were reminiscing about the old stores we remembered. Here's
our list, of course headed by Filenes and Jordan Marsh Company.
And in no special order:
Raymond's, Bonwit Teller, Peck and Peck, Chandler's
Gilchrist’s, Coleman's, Conrad’s, Crawford Hollidge,
Jay's, IJ Fox, R.H. Stearn's, Best & Co. (that was in Brookline near S.S. Pierce).

There was a children’s milk bar in Jordan Marsh(I think it was) on one of the upper levels. My mother would occasionally treat me to a milk shake (no ice cream in it).
I recall that the bar was low – child height- and the round-seat swivel bar stools were also low. I think the bar had a painted cowhide motif done in black and white, and a mural on the back wall.
It showed a cow jumping over the moon. I could not tell you if the dish running away with the spoon was part of the scene:-)

I recall a tearoom on a perimeter wall on the first floor. The tearoom entrance had a wall about waist high and when you peered into the interior, it was kind of dark. The outside of the tearoom was lit with orange glowing lights.

I don't remember where they sold the baked goods or if my mother ever bought any - but I do own the "Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin" recipe, which I have made. I don't know if it's the best around, but it's good. Speaking of food… S.S. Pierce had the best hermits. Dorothy Muriel's (on Tremont St) weren't bad either.
If you ever get hold of the Thompson's Spa (Temple Place-West Street) recipe for Rice Pudding, I'd love to have it.

I don’t recall the main floor of RH White's (Charles asked me if I did) although I did work there part of one summer. They had a paint department and I think I mixed pigments into the paint for custom shades. I know I put
the gallon cans onto the shaker.

I think it was either Jordan's or Filene's (Jordan’s Annex) that had balcony around the sides…I think it was called a mezzanine.
Jordan's also had metal gated elevators, with a swing-out-from-the-wall little round seat that the elevator operator could use.
Each spring (I assume) Filene's would have the main floor hung with birdcages from which canaries chirped.

Thanks so much to J!!!!!!! Please keep the memories coming my way. I love to be able to share these wonderful, clear memories with our blog readers!!