Hi friends! After some delay (a combination of work and daddy time) here’s the second set of “Then & Now” photos from Willimantic. An interesting aside – when I went to shoot the former site of the Burger Chef diner, now and for many years preceding the home of Papa’s Pizza and Roast Beef, I observed a man’s scooter catch fire in front of me. He ditched the bike in the Papa’s parking lot and fled. A large crowd gathered to watch the blaze until the Willimantic Fire Department arrived to extinguish it. I snapped about 30 photos of the event and sent them over to The Chronicle for publication. (Once they’ve cleared publication there, I’ll post them here.)
Have a great day!
The Baptist Church on Main Street adjacent to what was once called Lincoln Square, a broad intersection with a center block. In the 1970s, Willimantic undertook a massive redevelopment project and demolished Lincoln Square and many other historic buildings and blocks.
The Baptist church today, one of the only buildings still standing in the area. Note the spires of St. Mary’s church to the right and background of the building. The block itself is now a large field and the site of the abandoned and boarded up Jillson Cinemas (where I had my first date!)
The Willimantic Elks Club (#1311), built in 1925 in Tudor Revival architectural style.
The building today is virtually unchanged. It continues to host the Elks and is rented for weddings and other special occasions.
The building remains in 2014, with some changes.
The “old” Stop & Shop building in 1963. Stop & Shop still has a business in town at the location of an old Bradlees department store.
This building also still stands, now the site of the Access Agency social service. An addition was for a Wal-Greens store (right); today it houses the Salvation Army Thrift Shop.