A place to recall and celebrate the wonderful stores of a Downtown Boston now alive only in our memories
Friday 9 July 2010
Boston Celebrates the Bicentennial and Boston Yellow Pages of Years Gone By
Hello, My Fellow Retro Boston Lovers! I start another update with a big Thank You to Bruce!! Bruce is a serious collector of information and other memorabilia from USA department stores and what a great collection it is!! He was kind enough to share some scans from his copy of "Boston 200: Official Bicentennial Guide Book". This guide was published in 1975 and was available to the public for several years thereafter. Bruce was given his on a trip to Boston in 1978. The ads for the last four BIG Boston department stores are classic!! Each is proud to able to share in the festive Bicentennial celebration that is about to grip Boston and the nation as a whole. The period from the spring of 1975 through the summer of 1976 was amazing for the City of Boston. The tourists flocked in and the city seemed to be more crowded than I ever recalled seeing it so far in my young life. The Freedom Trail was revamped and new signs all over Boston helped the many visitors get around the city with ease. Some MBTA buses and a few select Green Line trolley cars had Bicentennial themes painted all over their sides and the multimedia slide show, "Where's Boston?" began to be shown in various locations around the city. The festive spirit was everywhere and for the remaining BIG stores of Downtown Boston, it was the last time they saw such crowds fill their street floors. By the time Bruce got his copy of the book in the summer of 1978, RH Stearn's and Gilchrist's were both sadly out of business...but their wonderful ads remained in place. I love the way Gilchrist's calls itself the "first" Boston department store...it only beat Jordan Marsh by about nine years....but we all like to be the "first":-)
I also share with you a selection of Boston Yellow Pages ads from the 1950's to the 1970's. These ads are also classic because they contain store logos and slogans that each of the BIG stores was using at the time the ad was published. Note the way RH White's goes from praising the "updated" flagship store in Boston in 1956 and then in 1957 it's... Goodbye Boston, Hello Suburbs! RH White's did try to update the aging building on Washington Street in the 1950's, the ad proudly states they have fast escalators and bright lighting...but this attempt at dressing up did not stop them from closing shop in Boston and heading out to the suburbs. The historic building only had short term uses and sat empty most of the time until it was lost to the wrecker's ball in the mid- 1970's.
Thank you Bruce for the Bicentennial goodies!! Now please enjoy this selection of Boston ads from the past!!
Boston born, Brookline raised Retro Boston Cultural Historian and very eager to get as many memories, photos and newspaper adverts of the once grand stores of the Downtown Boston we all knew and loved. Also I am very busy researching Boston area churches of the past that have since closed or merged into others. All who remember are welcome to contact me with their thoughts, memories and photos to add to any of my blogs.
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