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

Saturday 2 February 2008

A Day Out In Boston In 1968... Part 3

Part 3

Before I carry on with a typical shopping day in 1968, I would like to add a little note.
By the time we finished in Jordan Marsh, my mother and nana had boxes in their arms. Most stores still offered cardboard boxes, large handled shopping bags or paper bags all embossed with their logo. A few stores had just begun using a form of plastic carrier bag but they were not very common yet. Some of the more durable shopping bags were offered in coin operated dispensers near most of the outer doors to the big stores.

Jordan Marsh had a wonderful logo at this time. The logo I recall had a pencil style drawing of old Boston with the words Jordan Marsh Company printed bellow. I would be very excited to have some of these old Boston store logos scanned and sent to me for posting.
It would make a super archive to add to over time and view! Have a look in your attic or basements…you may have some logos we need!

Back to 1968:
We would walk down Washington Street back toward Winter Street and look for a place to have lunch. Two nice and not too expensive spots were The Brass Lantern across from Jordan Marsh on Washington Street or The Iron Rail on Winter Street. Both had a clam platter with French fries and cold slaw with a buttered roll that I enjoyed very much. Sometimes we would walk up towards RH Stern’s on Temple Place and have lunch at Thompson’s Spa. All these places had table seating and nice family friendly atmosphere.

**I believe that Thompson’s Spa lasted until about 1976 and sat vacant for a while. With the demise of RH Stern’s around this same time, I think Thompson’s Spa had lost vital shopping traffic. The Brass Lantern and Iron Rail carried on a bit longer but both soon became fast food Chinese restaurants in the early 1980’s.

Having lunch was an important ritual during these trips and it was chance to practice my newly acquired table manners.
After we ate, the next stop was further up Washington Street past Filene’s…not in!
Nana was a Jordan’s shopper and past employee and Filene’s was just not on her list. Very old fashioned and loyal!
I would not step foot in Filene’s until about 1977 and that was eye opening. More about that another time.
Grant’s 5 and 10 was like Kresge’s with two floors connected by an escalator. I liked Grant’s and I think it still had a soda-lunch counter still on the street floor. We would poke around in Grant’s for bit and then cross Washington to look at the big project. I liked cranes and construction sites since my dad was a builder. In 1968 a major project was going on. Raymond’s Department Store on the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets was being torn down and Franklin Street was being moved over to join up with Bromfield Street. The Raymond’s lot was becoming smaller and the plaza or park on the side of Filene’s was being created. It was a large scale project lasting from mid 1967 to the Autumn of 1970.
I shall write about the new super sized 1970
F. W. Woolworth’s store in its own update.
I would spend time watching the project and asking mother or nana questions about what the men were doing.
We would end our trip with iced teas at Neisner’s wonderful lunch counter located on the Bromfield Street side of the store. If iced tea was not in season, I had a Raspberry Lime Ricky instead. All the sodas back then were made with syrup and tasted great!
Neisner’s was a large Woolworth’s type of store built in an “L” shape with large main doors on both Washington and Bromfield Streets. I loved to look at the toys located in the basement of Neisner’s. Neisner’s was a chain store
like Grants and Kresge’s but I liked it the best of all.

** The mid 1970’s marked the end to most of these 5 and 10 type stores in the downtown area.
Neisner’s held on until about 1977 when Wendy’s Hamburgers took the Washington Street side over.
The Bromfield Street side became Sherman’s
Electrical Supply.
Grant’s went on until about 1976 when it made way for Barnes and Noble.
Kresge’s was part of K-Mart and lasted on Washington Street until about 1985 or so.
It went down hill and became a bit tatty before it closed it’s doors in the 1980’s.

We would walk up Bromfield Street and make our way back to Park Street Station. I can recall the music of the Harri Krishna dancers and drummers that always seemed to be near the subway entrance in those days. The music would fade away as we rode down to the platform to board a streetcar for Beacon Street and home.
It had been a busy and very happy day out for me!
PS.......Please remember to visit The Bostonian Society. The above 1967 sample image of Raymond's demolition is from their vast collection. Worth supporting their fine work!


ephemeralist said...

I love how you work British words into your blog. I noticed "carrier bag" and "tatty." Gives Boston a continental flavor! Keep up the good work.

Krissy said...

What a fun blog!

Recently when my husband and I tore up our old floor, we found a bunch of old newspapers from 1944. There were lots of ads for old department stores. I uploaded some pictures here: http://www.krissyinboston.com/?p=796

There are a few from Filene's. I saved all the newspapers and I still haven't gone through them all, and we're tearing up the old floor in the rest of the house over the coming months, so I should have some more gems. When I upload more I can send you some pictures!

cyndy said...

Nice to read that...I was there, with my Mom, too! And then, I worked at the Harvest House in Woolworth's later in 1974...I wrote this in another comment to another part of your story.

catcookie said...

Charles, Thank you so much for posting these. I was in city sports and I was wracking my brain
trying to remember what this was before it was a sporting goods store. I became shermans but I forgot what it was. Thanks to you I now know it was Neisners!

What great memories!