Memories of Bridgeport

By Don Browne, Harding Class of 1962


Many memories of Bridgeport and the East-End return with the passing of time:

Maraczi's Snack Shop--Unquestionably the best hamburger "joint" in Bridgeport. Each town had its "hamburger stand". Stratford had its Danny's, Westport had the Crest Drive-In.  Maraczi's was originally located in what is now the middle of Boston Avenue. It had to be moved back a hundred feet so that Boston Avenue could be rerouted to cross the freeway and connect with Reservoir Avenue. When Maraczi's "sold out" to the Duchess Hamburger Store franchise, the "best hamburger joint" title passed to Tomlinson's Hot Dog Stand, at the intersection of Boston Avenue, Noble Avenue, and Concord Street. Tomlinson's was so small... it didn't even appear in the Bridgeport telephone "Book Of Names".

Bru-Conte's Tropical Resort--Located at the foot of Newfield Avenue at Seaview Avenue. This was a "classy" restaurant that overlooked moored yachts and the Bridgeport harbor. It was across Newfield Avenue from a private home which looked to contain a "mock" lighthouse on its roof.  Many Harding "dinners" were held at this place.

Fairway Restaurant--Located on East Main Street between one of the "states" avenues (Pennsylvania, Louisiana, or Minnesota). More Harding "dinners" at this place.

Seaview Avenue Dairy--Yes, there was a real dairy (with cows and everything) on Seaview Avenue near Beardsley Street or Eagle Street.  Because refrigeration wasn't too reliable in the fifties, milk was delivered in bottles about every other day. They even made ice cream, and sold it at the dairy!

Globe Theater--The last "legitimate" vaudeville house in Bridgeport, located on the SE corner of Main Street and Congress Street.  During its demolition in 1954 or 1955, I had "the run of the house", exploring every "nook and cranny" from the orchestra to the fourth balcony.  People didn't care about neighborhood kids running "loose" in those days.

Crystal Palace--On Main Street next to the Ocean Sea Grill.  Each weekend, walking to and from the Strand Theater (Admission: 18 cents...bugs for free), I would spend HOURS in the Crystal Palace.  Two hundred pinball machines!!!  In the fifties, when you won, you were paid cool cash!  Later the law forced the proprietors to offer free games instead.  Giving money to kids was "gambling proceeds".

Bridgeport East-End "Movie" Theaters--On East Main Street; the Astor (at Cedar Street), the Mayfair (at Maple Street), the American (at Jane Street). On Boston Avenue, the Colonial (at Brooks Street), the Hi-Way (at Bowe Avenue). On Barnum Avenue, the Barnum (at Kent Avenue). On Stratford Avenue, the Hippodrome Theater (at Carroll Avenue), the Park City (at Newfield Avenue). Most of these theaters became furniture stores.

Bus Barns--Every "student" had to purchase "discount tokens" at the transit bus barn in order to economically ride to high school. The yellow CR&L buses had their barn at Congress Street between the river and the railroad station.  The gray Gray Line (GE-Seaside Park) was on Dover Street, between Boston Avenue and Tudor Street. The orange Barnum & State (Barnum Avenue-State Street) was on Sage Avenue, between Barnum Avenue and Boston Avenue.

From the memory of Don Browne (Harding Class of '62)

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