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

Monday 31 March 2008

An Hour In the Boston W.T. Grant Store

Nick DeWolf spent a quality hour doing some great photos of Christmas shoppers in Grant’s back in December 1970. Grant’s had a long history on Washington Street and it was one of the shops my family had been visiting for years as part of a routine shopping trip into Boston.
Grant’s began operating shops of the five and dime variety back in 1906 and carried on all over the US in most cities until 1975 when it failed.
Grant’s in Boston had always done well but by the early 1970’s the effect of suburban shopping malls and the new “BIG” Woolworth’s across the street took a serious toll on business. Grant’s was the first big store of it’s kind to fail in the downtown area during my childhood. Others had closed before my time but this was the first of the newer closings and it seemed rather sad to my 10 year-old mind.
The photos show the typical layout of these type of stores. I am very fond of the shot showing the candy and nut counter. I can still smell the aroma!
Grant’s in Boston had a two floor plan with a staricase and escalator connecting the levels.
After Grant’s was closed and renovated in 1975, Barnes and Noble held the location for nearly 30 years. Note the excellent hair styles and the Bobby Orr record on offer that year with a free wall poster. I had one.....Oh, well:-)

Also there is a great view taken under the Orpheum Theatre door looking towards Grant's. You can just see the base of the wall sign above the main door.



Saturday 29 March 2008

A Man Named Nick DeWolf

I was feeling a bit low:

Putting a blog together about Boston department stores of the past is no easy task! The task is extra hard when you consider I do it from England.
My hope of offers of photographs and memories of the once very exciting Boston shopping area have been few and far between. I am still keeping my fingers crossed for some eager folks out there who would enjoy a chance to share their own memories or have a burning desire to visit the BPL and scan some classic adverts from the large newspaper archive to put up on the blog.

A wonderful discovery:

The other day I was thrilled to come across the photographic work of the late Nick DeWolf.
Nick spent a large part of his adult life shooting photos that span a wonderful assortment of subjects.
Nick and his family lived in Boston for many years and the life and times of the city from the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s are captured in his fine photographic work.
Seeing the beautiful archives of Nick’s work gave me new inspiration to carry on with the blog!
I am pleased to have received permission from Nick’s wife to present on my blog some of his brilliant shots taken in 1969-70 in and around Washington Street.
I also wish to thank Steve who is working hard to post all of Nick’s photographic work on Flickr.
Thanks so much! It is a wonderful tribute to Nick.

The photos I include today show various sides of the old Jordan Marsh buildings including a view of the Annex taken from West Street looking up towards Avon Street. These photos are perfect and reflect the feel of the Boston I knew as a little child in the late 60’s. Nick DeWolf had a keen eye for catching the moment and saving it on film for us all to enjoy again and again.