Waterbury American Graffiti

The Crosby High Class of 1959

THE CROSBY HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1959

OUR TOWN: IMAGES OF THE WATERBURY WE REMEMBER

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                Familiar 1950s downtown sights:

 

The F.W. Woolworth, National Shoes, Robinson's, and W.T. Grant's stores on East Main Street

 

 

 

 

Exchange Place with the Apothecaries Hall building, Liggett's Rexall Drug Store, Carroll Cut-Rate, and the horse on the Green

 

 

 

The horse and clock on the Green

 

 

 

A CR&L city bus on the west end of the Green

 

 

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North Main Street at the east end of The Green. The Hotel Elton is on the left, and the Waldorf Cafeteria in the center.

 

The Mattatuck Museum on West Main Street

 

We bought school supplies at the H. L. Green "5¢ - $1.00" store on Bank Street.

 

 

 

 

The record booths at Mattatuck Music on East Main Street were usually packed every afternoon after school let out. (Photo contributed by Janice Melchino Paul)

 

 

 

 

 

Familiar Downtown store names

 

 

 

Oh, we got trouble
Right here in The Brass City
Right here in The Brass City
With a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P' and that stands for 'pool'
That stands for pool
We surely got trouble
We surely got trouble
Right here in The Brass City
Right here

 

 

 

  

 

The downtown "comfort station" (public toilet) was in a converted carriage house on Harrison Avenue.

 

 

 

The East Main Street "theater district" about a year before we were born

A downtown Waterbury most of us would rather not remember: The dilapidated buildings across from the Green on West Main Street at Exchange Place in 1980,

 

and the abandoned buildings on Bank Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No yellow school busses: Many of us traveled back and forth to Crosby every day on a 1950s era city bus like this. Our CR&L busses were green and cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of us went to church at the Immaculate Conception Church on West Main Street,

 

 

and some attended services at the Beth Israel Synagogue on Kingsbury Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dances at the YMCA on West Main Street were a major part of the teen-age mating ritual in Waterbury in the 1950s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We even engaged in occasional "disturbances" there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pine Drive-In was also part of the mating ritual  

 

 

and the Lake Drive-In,

 

and the Putt Meadow on Meriden Road,

 

 

 

 

but not the Hotel Elton on West Main Street (no hourly room rentals).

 

 

 

  

 

We cheered for the Crosby basketball team at the State Armory on Field Street,

 

and for the football team at Municipal Stadium on Watertown Avenue.

 

 

Joe-Ray's Army-Navy Surplus Store across the street from Crosby on the corner of East Main and North Elm Streets was destroyed by an overnight fire in 1957.

 

 

 

Bergin's Garage was long gone, but businesses in these buildings across East Main Street from Crosby in the late '50s included the Hobby Corner, Jim The Florist, Bria's Pharmacy, and the Bargain Food Center.

Nearby Croft High School (formerly Leavenworth High) on Scovill Street was a major sports rival,

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as was Wilby High on Grove Street.

All of the Waterbury high schools were bursting at the seams in 1957

Corruption Central: City Hall on Grand Street

The Silas Bronson Library building on Grand Street that we remember was demolished in 1966 for a new library.

The Post Office on Grand Street

The Waterbury Boy's Club on Cottage Place behind the Post Office

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Many class members may remember taking weekend "excursion" trips to New York City on New Haven Railroad cars like these from the railroad station on Meadow Street. The station building is now the printing plant and offices of The Waterbury Republican-American newspaper.

 

The Tower Grill neighborhood: The bridge and American Brass Company factory buildings on Freight Street and the railroad station clock tower on Meadow Street.

Class members who went to the UConn Waterbury branch after graduation will recognize the mansion on Hillside Avenue where the administrative and faculty offices were located. Classes were held here and in a new cinder block building in back of the mansion.

The state highway department was in the Chief Two Moon Building on East Main Street.

The wooden water wheel of the first brass mill in America was displayed in Hamilton Park.

Many of us cooled off at the "swimming" pool in Hamilton Park in the summer. But with a maximum depth of about 3 feet, it was really a wading pool.

 

 

 

Our Robert Hall store on Mill Street was the first Robert Hall store in the country.

Schoolbells ring and children sing, It's back to Robert Hall again, Mother knows for better clothes, It's back to Robert Hall again, You'll save more on clothes for school, Shop at Robert Hall

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Land USA on Pine Hill opened in 1958 as Bethlehem Village, representing a miniature Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was one of Connecticut's biggest tourist attractions in the 1960s and 1970s with up to 50,000 visitors every year.

Many of us were born at St. Mary's Hospital,

 

 

 

and most of the others were born at Waterbury Hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of us came to Crosby from the Washington Elementary School ("junior high" or "middle" schools didn't exist yet),

 

 

 

 

 

and others came from Driggs School in the Hillside neighborhood.

 

 

 

 

Many of us lived in three family houses like these on Washington Hill.

Most of us had parents and/or relatives who worked at Scovill Manufacturing, American Brass, or Chase Brass & Copper.

Class members who lived on Washington Hill will remember the Mulcahy Grammar School on Fairmount Street, which was gutted by a fire in the early 1950s and was used as a school textbook warehouse after that. 

 

 

 

Some class members played stickball in the Mulcahy schoolyard in the 1950s, using a chalked strike zone on a wall.

 

 

 

 

Class members who lived in the Brooklyn neighborhood will remember Saturday matinees at the Capitol Theater.

 

 

 

 

 

The Brooklyn equivalent of Happy Days' Arnold's Drive-In: Lolly's Luncheonette on Bank Street was where Brooklyn class members hung out and listened to the jukebox in the 1950s.

 

 

 

 

Class members who grew up in the North End may remember Billie Fitzpatrick's store on North Main St.

 

 

WWCO disk jockey "Wildman Steve" Gallon broadcast many of his shows from his Sportsmen's Club bar/nightclub on North Main Street in the 1950s.

 

 

 

 

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Lake Compounce in Bristol was one of our favorite destinations for summer fun. Local entertainers appeared as a weekly attraction on the lakefront stage and featured such talent as Tex Pavel, Colonel Clown, and Slim Coxx and the Cowboy Caravan.

 

 

 

 

 

Most big bands played the Lake Compounce Ballroom in the ‘50s, like Count Basie, Stan Kenton, and Maynard Ferguson. This recording of Woody Herman at Lake Compounce was made on June 15, 1959, which also may have been our graduation date.

 

 

 

Quassy Amusement Park in nearby Middlebury was also a popular summer place.

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Mattatuck on Mt. Tobe Road in Plymouth was the Waterbury Boy Scouts summer camp.

 

 

 

 

 

Most class members have vivid memories of The Great Flood of 1955. This was the scene on South Main Street at Antonelli's Market on the morning of August 19, 1955.

BURGERS, DOGS, LASAGNA, FRIED CLAMS, SODA, & BEER

 

 

There were no McDonald's or Burger Kings in the 1950s, so the White Tower between the State Theater and W.T. Grant's on East Main Street was the place to get some 10¢ burgers before catching the bus home.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of us thought that Blackie's in Cheshire was the place to go for the best hot dogs,

 

 

 

 

 

 

even though Frankie's on Watertown Avenue claimed to be "The Hot Dog King" of Waterbury.

 

 

 

 

We drank Waterbury bottled soda to wash down our hot dogs: Bliss, Commander (Brassco Bottling Co.), Diamond, Paul's (Riverside Bottling Co.), and Top-Notch (C. Mascolo Bottling Works).

Some of us probably had dinner at D'Angelo's Restaurant on Watertown Avenue before going to the Senior Prom..

 

The Howard Johnson's Restaurant on South Main Street opened in our junior year and was in business until January 2007. (Photo by Richard Kummerlowe, orangeroof.org)

 

Some of the guys in the Class of 1959 may  remember "field trips" on Route 6 to  Brewster, New York, where they had bars in bowling alleys and the drinking age was 18.

 

 

 

BRASS CITY PAST-BLAST - Vintage Waterbury News, Photos & Ads from the 1950s 

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