It's Happening: A Mid-Century Walk Down Main Street, Bridgeport, Courtesy of Mr. Moore

By Julie Perine on October 03, 2017 from It’s Happening via Connect-Bridgeport.com

One of the best things about a small, hometown store is the element of chat. Lifetime Bridgeport resident Mr. Moore often comes into our family-owned deli for some Bridgeport High School sports talk. Just the other day, he visited and shared some Main Street history, providing a mental vision of days gone by in Bridgeport.
 
We’re talking the late-1940s to ‘50s – post World War II, when families gathered round the radio to listen to shows like “Lone Ranger” and “Amos ‘n’ Andy.” Frank Sinatra and Perry Como were pop music icons and the movie screen – including one right on Main Street – featured movies like “Singing in the Rain” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
 
Mr. Moore remembers paying a dime to see a movie at the theatre, located in the vicinity of Main Street Fitness – the same building that housed the former “Irene’s.” He was raised on Grand Avenue and said he and his siblings walked to the movies, cutting through the Hall Tractor property (now Josh Halstead Insurance) as a shortcut.  
 
A dollar then was worth about $10 today. Mr. Moore said right after the war, people collected scrap metal and traded it in for cash. He remembers being thrilled to earn a quarter and it took him a week or so to spend it on candy – like Root Beer Barrels, Charleston Chews and Bazooka Bubble Gum, which he purchased after school at the “five-and-dime” store which stood at the east end of what today is called the Lloyd Lang Bridge, just beside Lisa Lang’s “About You” monogram store.
 
At the corner of Center and Main was the jail, a lot that's today used as a city parking lot. Between the jail and hardware store was a feed store, much needed in the day as there were many farms in the immediate area.  The Bridgeport Stockyards – where regular sales of cattle, sheep and pigs took place – was on the property presently occupied by Rite Aid.
This era preceded Bridgeport Pool. Houses stood along that area back then, Mr. Moore said. In fact, there were several residences along Main Street. He even rattled off the names of some of the families.
 
And everybody's favorite newsstand, The Handy Shop, carried a little bit of everything. 
 
Main Street was also home to clothing and shoe stores. One such business was located near the present-day Bridgeport Fire Department and former city building. Mr. Moore specifically remembers seeing boxes of women’s button-up shoes.
 
We knew that the building in which our Della’s Deli is in used to be a gas station, but Mr. Moore said he remembers it also being a dry cleaners. Just next store – where KRB Properties and Bridgeport ATA Martial Arts are now – there was a planing mill where boards from saw mills were processed into lumber for building purposes.  
 
Main Street was also home to various grocery stores and businesses which catered to the residents’ every need. After all, there were no malls and shopping centers. The town’s people depended upon the downtown area.
 
And before the Firemen’s Fair took place on the fire department grounds, it was once held along a strip of Main Street where Oliverio’s Florist is now located.
 
During this time, Main Street was paved, but many residential streets had brick surfaces.
 
It was fun to  picture it all and since I was fortunate enough to be raised in this beloved port, I love hearing stories from “back in the day” from one of our town treasures and one of the Indians’ greatest sports fan, Mr. Moore. 
 
Editor's Note: Photos are courtesy of the "I Remember Bridgeport When" Facebook page, submitted by Dick Duez - some featured in Connect-Bridgeport's "Time Travel" blog - and various other active participants of the page. 
 
Julie Perine can be reached at 304-848-7200, ext. 2 or julie@connect-bridgeport.com. More "It's Happening" HERE.



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