Vintage Views & Memories Of The Brass City

(This is the first stop on an online vintage images tour of Waterbury CT. If you want to continue the tour or create your own customized tour, click on the appropriate link at the bottom of the page.)


(Some of the images on this site reside on one of my photo storage sites or another website, and will not display if the source site is down. When this occurs, you will see a box with an X instead of the image)


Views of Exchange Place facing south from the Waterbury Green



Exchange Place is where Waterbury's major east-west and north-south thoroughfares intersect. Exchange Place, the "hub" of downtown businesses since the City was incorporated, is the place where public transportation (trolleys and later buses) from Waterbury's neighborhoods converged, allowing for frequent and easy connections to other parts of town. The landmark Apothecaries Building is in the center at the intersection of South Main and Bank Streets. View a larger version of the 1953 photo which shows greater detail, including the Carroll's Cut Rate store across East Main Street from Liggett's Rexall Drug Store. Bauby's Corner is partially obscured behind the tree.

Large scale 1893 map of the downtown area






This view of Exchange Place, looking south in 1889, shows the original Apothecaries Building in the center. Larger photo  

The Waterbury Traction Co. was founded in 1882 and was known as The Waterbury Horse Railroad. The first electric cars were run on July 28, 1894. Waterbury had both electric lights and telephones. In 1885 there were 30 street lights. The first telephone was installed in 1877. The original Apothecary Hall at the junction of Bank and South Main Street was built in 1849 and a new one was built in 1894.

Exchange Place looking north from the Apothecaries Building, circa 1900,

circa 1915,

circa 1950,

and in the 1960s.

Views of Exchange Place in the 1920s

Views of Exchange Place in the 1930s & 1940s. The Brown Building (left), built at the corner of South Main and East Main Streets in 1930, replaced the wooden structure that had stood at the site for over 40 years. 

A trolley waits for passengers in front of the Apothecaries Hall pharmacy/drug store in Exchange Place. The buildings on the left were on South Main Street. Waterbury trolley and bus service history.

Waterbury trolley routes map


The Connecticut Lighting and Power Company was chartered in 1897 to operate streetcars and provide electricity in Waterbury. The name was changed to The Connecticut Railway & Lighting Company (CR&L) on Jan. 10, 1901. Their Waterbury trolley routes were leased to the Connecticut Company, a subsidiary of the New Haven Railroad, on August 1,?. The leased routes were turned back to CR&L on November 16, 1936. All the trolley lines were converted to bus routes by 1937.



CR&L acquired the Bunker Hill Transportation Co. (now Route 44) in the 1950s, and the Cooke Street Line (now Route 13) in 1969.




Bus No. / Name Trolley Route Letter Trolley Discontinued
11 Overlook                     D                       5/23/37
12 Hill Street
13 Oakville (Cooke Street Line)
15 Bucks Hill / Fairmount
16 Bucks Hill / Farmcrest H                       4/ 4/37
18 Long Hill
20 Walnut
22 Wolcott
25 Hitchcock Lake
26 Fairlawn
27 Reidville / East Main  D                         8/ 5/34
28 Scott Road
31 East Mountain
32 Hopeville / Sylvan
33 Hopeville / Baldwin     C                        1/11/31
35 Town Plot / New Haven
36 Town Plot / Bradley    H                         4/ 4/37
40 Town Plot / Highland
42 Chase Parkway                                     5/28/30
44 Bunker Hill (Bunker Hill Transportation Co.)
45 Watertown                                             5/23/37






Trolleys and busses in Waterbury were operated by members of Division 570 of the Amalgamated Association of Street Electric Railway and Motorcoach Employees of America Union. "Freedom Through Organization"  





CR&L ceased operations in 1972, and the busses are now operated by Northeast Transportation Co.





Exchange Place was buried under over forty inches of snow in the Great Blizzard of 1888. The Apothecaries Building is in the center of the top photo.





People wait for a bus at Bauby's Corner on Exchange Place on the morning of August 19, 1955 as Hurricane Diane strikes Waterbury. Over 10 inches of torrential rain from the hurricane, on top of the 6 inches of rain from Hurricane Connie less than a week earlier, produced the Great Flood of 1955 that devastated Waterbury and the entire Naugatuck Valley. You can see vintage images of the flood later in the tour, or you can visit our 1955 flood photos page now.  



The original Bauby brothers' fruit store, on the corner of Bank St. and West Main St., in 1889







The man in this photo who is waiting for customers on the sidewalk outside of Bauby's fruit store at Bauby's Corner in the 1920s may be Albert Bauby, the son of founder Joseph Bauby. The United Cigar Store next to it on the corner of West Main and Bank Streets was one of more than 3000 located at prominent downtown locations throughout the country in the 1920s. The stores gave coupons/certificates with purchases that could be redeemed for household goods, toys, smokers accessories, or other premiums in their premium catalog. 



Bauby's in 1963



Ye Old-Fashion Do-nut Shop was next to Bauby's for many years. The Center Luncheonette took over the location when they went out of business in the late 1950s. 





Other businesses in Bauby's Block in the 1950s included Helen's Beauty Shoppe, the Front Page Restaurant, and Lerz's Restaurant.



Carroll Cut Rate Cosmetics was on the corner of South Main St. & East Main St.

A view of Exchange Place in 1945 (Online Archive of California photo),

and in 1946


Waterbury residents mob Exchange Place to celebrate the end of the war: August 15, 1945.

A large part of the downtown area south of Exchange Place looked like a bombed out city after it was completely destroyed in The Great Fire of 1902.





Drescher's Restaurant, Waterbury's oldest restaurant, was located at 16 Harrison Avenue (aka Harrison Alley) from 1882 to 1982, when the building was moved to Leavenworth Street. Most of the other buildings on Harrison Avenue were demolished for a downtown urban renewal project, and the street is now a courtyard named Carriage Place accessible only from Leavenworth Street.







The H.H. Peck Carriage House on Harrison Avenue was erected in 1898 as the town's fanciest stable for businessman Peck's horses and carriages. Eventually, the elegant building was acquired by the City of Waterbury, and it served as a storage area and comfort station (public toilet) until 1976, by which time most of downtown was in the toilet. It was spared from the wrecking ball and is now an office building.




Other business on Harrison Avenue in the 1950s included the Record Shop, J.J. Liquors, China Inn (Waterbury's first Chinese restaurant), and Dan's Anchor Grill. Shoppers World sold televisions, appliances, and furniture.

Views of the west side of Bank Street near Harrison Alley in the 1870s & early 1900s

The West side of Bank St near Exchange Place in 1914 

A parade on Bank St. in the 1950s. Businesses in the background include A S Beck, Sugenheimer's, Freedman's, and Sullivan's.

The Jones Morgan & Company men's clothing store was established on Bank Street in 1885. The store was destroyed in the 1902 downtown fire but was rebuilt and remained in business into the 1970s.

For years, Howland-Hughes at 110-142 Bank St. was Waterbury's major department store, catering to every need. With a tradition going back to 1890 as the Reid & Hughes Co., many Waterburians have great memories of shopping trips to Howland-Hughes.

Howland-Hughes originally opened as a dry-goods store during a March snowstorm in 1890. The owners, Adam Reid and George Hughes, started with 12 clerks and $50 in cash. In those days, men's shirts sold for 47 cents and infant dresses ranged from 25 cents to $4.50, according to an old newspaper advertisement.

A fire gutted the store in 1902, and it reopened a year later, this time as a full-service department store with 60 clerks.

Mr. Reid's interest in the store was eventually bought out by investors including John G. Howland, a former shoe salesman,

"It was at this time that my grandfather became involved," said Howard Paine, the current owner. His grandfather, Ralph H. Paine, was working part-time as a census taker in Vermont and visited Mr. Howland at his family's farm there. "After two or three glasses of lemonade, Mr. Howland offered my granddad a job."

Howland Hughes is now known as The Connecticut Store, selling only items made in Connecticut.

Across the street the 17-foot tall M.A. Green Jewelers clock, a historic two-dial clock made by the Seth Thomas Company, has stood since it was moved from Grand Street.



The Grand Opening of M.A. Green Jewelers on Bank St. in 1936




Dr. Kumpitsch, the Nap-A-Minit painless dentist, was located over Dean Lunch ("It's The Food") in the Hodson Building on the corner of Bank and Center Streets in the 1920s. Ladies' tailor Nathan Fidler was in the same building.  



The Thom McAn Shoes Store and Donn-L Photo Studios were on the ground floor of the Hodson Building in the 1950s. The offices above the storefronts have been converted into "downtown luxury rental" apartments.





A view of buildings on the east side of Bank St. in 1889 and the early 1900s.

Large photo of the east side of Bank St. in 1889 


The H L Green ř¢ - $1.00" store on Bank Street in the 1950s. An F & W Grand store (a dime store chain) occupied the location prior to Green's. H.L. Green was formed in the early 1950s through the consolidation of several dime store chains, including F & W Grand. Wilhelm Opticians, Worth's "Smiling Service" department store, and a Triple X store were other businesses on Bank Street in the 1940s and 1950s.



The Concordia Singing Society was an organization of German- American citizens founded in the late 1800s to promote German culture, music, and beer drinking. The Waterbury chapter was located at Concordia Hall at 123 Bank Street until the mid 1950s.



By the early 1900s, Cornelius Cables had built two office buildings on Center Street, had become the owner of the Kingsbury Hotel, also on Center Street, and owned the Cables Apartment House, which stood for many years at 45 Prospect Street. Cables was a strict temperance man so no alcoholic beverages were served at the Kingsbury Hotel.







The Connecticut Hotel at 28 Center Street was in business through the late 1940s, when it became the Center Hotel.









The Flamingo Room on Center Street was a popular restaurant and night club in the 1950s. 





National Banks were authorized to print and distribute their own "national currency" in the early 1900s. This $20 bill was from the Citizens and Manufacturers National Bank on Leavenworth St. 



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The latest in women's fashion clothing was featured at The Rose Shop at 85 South Main Street near Exchange Place for over 50 years.



The Royal Jewelers' & Bonnie Gaye Shoppe storefronts on South Main St. in 1961

1958 newspaper ad for Albert's Furniture at 268 South Main St.



The King's Grill on South Main Street: Waterbury's first gay bar?



The Grotto Restaurant on Scovill Street made the best ravioli in town

The corner of North and West Main Streets in Exchange Place, circa 1910. G.L. Dexter & Co. was the druggists on the corner of North and East Main Streets at the turn of the 20th century.

Riders board the Baldwin Street C Trolley on the same corner around 1903. The C Trolley transported passengers up East Main Street, Cole and Franklin Streets to the Abrigador, Washington Hill, and Hopeville neighborhoods on Baldwin Street.


Boston has The Commons, Waterbury has The Green. A description on a postcard from the early 1900s: “The Green is a parallelogram in shape, attractively ornamented and with an adjoining open space, which constitutes a centre from which North, South, East and West Main and Bank Streets radiate. A carriageway separates the Green from a smaller plot containing a soldiers' monument, and the First and Second Congregational and St. John's Episcopal Churches face the Green.” 



A hand drawn sketch map of the Waterbury Green, circa 1940s. An error on the map shows East Main Street on the south side of The Green, instead of West Main Street, which is on the south, west, and north sides.



The base and 15 foot granite tower of the clock on the Green were designed by Paul Lux of the Lux Clock Co. It has been called "Colley's Clock" at times for the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Charles Colley, who fought for it. The clock was dedicated November 25, 1915.



The Carrie Welton horse watering fountain on the east end of The Green is a Waterbury landmark. The 2,500 pound statue on the Carrie Welton Fountain is in memory of Caroline Josephine Welton's black stallion, Knight, and her love of animals. Welton’s will left $7,000 for the monument and $100,000 to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; a cause to which she had already given $250,000 in 1874. Relatives thought she was insane and contested the will, resulting in a long trial that was covered by the New York Times. Carrie's side prevailed, and the fountain was dedicated November 10, 1888.

The Green and Hotel Elton in 1921.

There are more photos of the Elton on our next tour stop >> AROUND THE GREEN

If you prefer to view vintage images of particular areas of Waterbury rather than take the entire tour, click on the appropriate link below. Each of these pages will open in a new window, so you can close that window when you are done and return to this page.

Around the Green     More Downtown     Uptown     Big3 (Waterbury Industry)  

West Side   Out East   North End    South End    Washington Hill 

Out Of Town (Surrounding Towns)  

1955 Flood Photos     Waterbury Radio    Waterbury TV    Waterbury Theaters

Brass City Memories     Waterbury Time Machine Tour Guestbook

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