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

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Spring Shopping Trip In Retro Boston During March, 1941

Hello, My Fellow Retro Boston Lovers!

Today we stroll back to a spring shopping trip in Boston during the month of March, 1941.

War was raging across the Atlantic and Pearl Harbor was still some months away.
The Cocoanut Grove tragedy had not yet scared the city.
Boston went about her business in this pre-war calm.
Boston still had a West End teaming with life.
Scollay Square still had a reputation.
Boston had yet to be redeveloped by the experts.
Boston was rough, frayed on the edges, and very much alive!

The Boston of 1941 was packed with stores and shops… the choices seemed endless.
Vacant shop fronts were very rare…the 1940’s merchants still held downtown Boston as fertile ground.

The big department stores were thriving and beginning to look to the suburbs for further growth opportunities. Boston still even had the wonderful department store, C.F. Hovey’s in 1941. Although owned by the Jordan Marsh Company since 1925, Hovey’s was still a separate store with a very loyal customer base and a fine reputation for quality goods and services.
Hovey’s was located in a collection of well worn buildings where the three new buildings (begun in 1949 and finally completed in 1957) of the former Jordan Marsh Company are now located.

You will also note that the Boston branch of Bond's in 1941 was located on the corner of Washington Street and Essex...just beyond R.H. White's. They would later move to Summer Street just beyond Kennedy's.

For a bit of flavor, I have added a look at a few smaller stores as well as what Gilchrist’s had as lunch specials in both the Marble Spa and basement lunch counter. I just love the Gilchrist Company signature logo of the early 40’s...so stylish!

Also take a look at what was playing on the screens and stages of Boston’s many fabulous theatres during mid- March of 1941. In these early days of the 1940’s, all the live venues as well as the cinemas seemed to have bookings week after week. Nights out offered countless options.

These were the days when my mother and father were young and found Boston to be a place so vibrant and colorful...it captured their imaginations and each loved to be taken round the many stores and shops as a Saturday treat!

Browsing more than buying...saving up for the occasional, special treat...cutting out the many newspaper adverts, wishing and planning how to spend your very tiny allowance.

Yes, 1941 was a simpler time...and downtown Boston was a playground to be explored with pleasures a plenty!






Skip said...

Does anyone remember a children's poem about Boston department stores from around 1900s? It starts off something like:

Houghton and Dutton sewed a button on RH White…

Charles Boston said...

Hey, Skip!
Love to have the rest of the words!!!
Help...anyone out there know the rest of this old poem???