Lifestyle » Vol. 3

Downtown Worcester’s Retail Heyday

Memories of the main street shopping district
By Lauren Koblara

Clockwise from top: A view of Main St., Harrington Corner on Main St., and Shack’s on Main St.

Clockwise from top: A view of Main St., Harrington Corner on Main St., and Shack’s on Main St.

Chances are that if you grew up in Worcester County in the 1940s, 50s, or 60s, you have fond memories of the hustle and bustle that was Downtown Worcester ~ especially on Wednesday nights, when the shops stayed open and families flocked to Main Street ~ from Federal Square to Lincoln Square to the corner of Chandler and Madison Streets ~ to do their clothes shopping (and perhaps grab a bite to eat or see a movie).   The street was alive with customers, taxis, window shoppers, workers, and the spirit of tradition.  Some of the stores that lined this Memory Lane survived well into later decades ~ either in their original capacity or transformed for some other use ~ and some, façade perhaps slightly altered, still stand today.  Others closed their doors as malls entered the scene.  Regardless, though, all of these downtown retailers ~ Shacks, Denholm’s, Woolworth’s, The 5 & 10, The Mart, WT Grants, Sharfman’s, Newbury’s,  Sears Roebuck, American Supply, Robert Hall, Ware Pratt, House of Doherty, Lujon’s, Jobbers’ Outlet, The Lerner Shop, Marcus Clothes, Barnard’s ~ that served as family destinations for over three decades will remain etched in our collective memory as part of a very special time in history ~ and especially in Worcester’s own history.

Clockwise from top: Denholm McCay on Main St., a display window at Denholm McCay, and a view of Front Street

Clockwise from top: Denholm McCay on Main St., a display window at Denholm McCay, and a view of Front Street

Photos from the collections of WORCESTER HISTORICAL
MUSEUM, Worcester, MA.  Special thanks to Robyn Christensen.

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