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

Friday 11 December 2009

Christmas Stocking Full of Boston Shopping Memories

Hello, Retro Boston Lovers!!
Happy Holidays to one and all!!
I love to look at old Boston snapshots...really look at them.
You can find some great treasures hidden in the most surprising places!
Let's explore these photos I have presented today.
The Boston Bruins had a great 1969- 70 season and in May 1970 had this victory parade through downtown Boston along Washington Street with many eager fans snapping photos of Bobby Orr and his fellow team members. The photo also reveals a Boston Shopping Treasure....Raymond's in its final location, using the old RH White's store next to Jordan Marsh's Annex Buildings. I had found some vintage Yellow Pages proof of this final location of Raymond's but this was photo proof....yes!!!!! Thank you, Bobby Orr! I have a feeling dear Raymond's was not long for the retail world by 1970 and soon would close its doors for good, at least by 1972.

Now look at the 1951 Christmas photo of the gang looking at the train set.
This great shot was taken in a " Big Boston Department Store"....but the name is not on the photo....Mmmmmmm? I would venture a guess that it was snapped at Jordan Marsh's Annex on the great old fifth floor. Any ideas???? Write me....love to hear your thoughts on the location. The other place could be Gilchrist's on the sixth floor...Not sure...Help!!!!
Another little treasure in the group is the Humphrey shot from 1968.
I love the view down Summer Street between Filene's and Jordan Marsh.
Note the great old Jordan Marsh building that was part of the old Main Store and the wonderful ornate entrance...there was another like it on the Washington Street side. By 1975 these buildings that formed the old Main Store of Jordan Marsh would be demolished to make room for a very functional replacement....blahhh!!
Ahhh...great shot from 1968!!!
Jordan Marsh for many years used the flat roof over the sidewalk along the Summer Street windows of the "New 1949- 50" building to host large Xmas displays like the Nativity as seen here from the late 1950's.
Enjoy all these little snaps and thanks for a wonderful two years on Blogger!!!
Keep visiting and writing.....More soon!!!

Thursday 26 November 2009

Thanksgiving Treats from Boston's Retro Days

Hello, Retro Boston Lovers!
I present a selection of Thanksgiving offers from the big Boston department stores like R.H. White's, Filene's, Jordan Marsh Company and some of the larger clothing shops of Boston such as Chandler's and Slattery's.
The days before and after Thanksgiving have always been big shopping days and this holiday always marked the start of the Christmas shopping mad dash.
The day after Thanksgiving even in the 1920's was a big mark down day and a preview of the choice goods on offer for eager Xmas shoppers...encouraged to shop early for best selections...of course!!
It's all here...china sets to fur coats! Come and see!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the 1920's and 1943!


Thursday 3 September 2009

June 1975 Jordan Marsh Article

Hello, Retro Boston Lovers!
I came upon this great retro article from June 1975 Boston Magazine that showed just how strong the feelings were at the time when Jordan Marsh Company wanted to tear down its older buildings and make way for the bright new future with...Lafayette Place! The tone of the article is all about the down and out state of Washington Street and how cheap it had become and so the power base of the company felt it was time to shed the old and bring on the new...up, up and away! I find it sad how the group of protesters who came to try to save the old Jordan Marsh main building are made to look silly and useless by the article...a pain in the neck to the developers more or less.
The writer must have been new to Boston since he made a few mistakes....I love to catch them out!! The building being torn down in 1975 was the main Jordan Marsh store along Washington Street...not the Annex!! The Annex building was in use while the first phase of this ill-fated modernization was ongoing. So what the writer is really describing is the wonderful Victorian main building coming down...and yes, the old Bristol Building was on the way out, too in 1975. The whole area was being cleared bit by bit but the Annex was the last to go in 1977 or early 1978....not 1975. I have clear memories of this huge construction project of 1975-1976 and all the plastic sheets hung to seal off the old main building from the 1949 new building and all the wooden walls blocking your view of the large construction pit along Washington Street. And also how vital the Annex was for extra sales space during this project. I can still see the little signs placed all over the store telling us...the loyal customers...how sorry they were for the chaos, but a bright new future was on the way...mmmmmm....right!!!


Monday 17 August 2009

An Old Postcard from 1910

Hello, All!
A reader asked about this scene from 1910 and was curious about the plaque on the building located on the corner of Temple Place before Kresge's took over.
I would imagine that once that building was replaced or renovated...the sweet little plaque was no more. It was a perfect location for the plaque back in 1910 since Jordan Marsh Company was breaking retail records, building its famous annex and becoming the king of New England department stores.
Hope this helps....Charles:-)

Saturday 15 August 2009

BRA Visions of Downtown Boston Shopping In 1963: Part Two

Hello, Retro Boston Lovers!
Part two of my posting of the BRA 1963 report on the Boston shopping scene and their "ideas" for making it better. I find it funny and very sad that the words "preserve" or even "character" do not get a mention in any of the pages. You will enjoy the description of dear old Kennedy's...I think they call the building...."not attractive". Mmmm, I wonder why they worked so hard to save the outer walls about 25 years ago when the store was no more.
I also learned through my recent research that Raymond's did relocate into the former RH White building from 1967 until about 1970 ish. Not sure when they called it quits but it must have been by 1972 at the latest. I never did get a look in because of the location and my mother's fear of "that awful end of Washington Street". That location may have done Raymond's in after a few years. I have a feeling they relocated there during the Franklin Street realignment work of 1967-68 and had hopes of rebuilding in their former location but could not raise the needed funds to do it. Enter Woolworth's in the late 60's and that was that.
Enjoy part two...Charles:-)

Friday 14 August 2009

BRA Visions of Downtown Boston Shopping In 1963: Part One

Hello, Retro Boston Lovers!
I have come upon a real gem! This BRA report from 1963 has cropped up in my research and wow...what a find! I now see the seeds that were sown that would bring about so many BIG changes to the Boston shopping experience. This was the start to the many demolitions that would begin in just a few short years.
I will post the report for your reading pleasure...horror...you can decide.
I smiled as the team referred to the confusing store layouts and masses of connected, antique buildings...Ahhh, yes!! That was the pleasure...the fun...the hunt and search through those beloved buildings for what you wanted!
The team from BRA must have enjoyed shopping in the new suburban malls that were popping up all over. All neat and tidy! No more than two floors, easy to navigate for the simple minded.
All the real retro Boston shoppers of 1963 knew their stores and knew where the items they wanted were sold and it did all make sense... in a wild and wonderful way...if you gave it half a chance!
Here is part one of the report.
Enjoy, Charles:-)