Snapshot Memories of Bridgeport

By Don Browne, Harding Class of 1962


I was born and lived on the east side of Bridgeport for eighteen years. During those eighteen years, Bridgeport didn't seem to change.

Perhaps the changes were so slow and casual as to appear "under the radar".

In September 1962, following high school graduation (WHHS Class of 1962), I moved away to Philadelphia, then Georgia, then Tokyo, Japan, then San Francisco, and finally Virginia.

During those forty years, I managed to return to Bridgeport an average of once a year, each visit for a period of about one week, living with a relative. Each yearly visit was like a "snapshot" of Bridgeport, in which I saw dramatic changes to Bridgeport and the east side.

The first "snapshot" occurred in the sixties. It was the demise of favorite "haunts", such as the "Little Casino" at 847 Hallet Street; "C & C's Apizza" at Connecticut and Carroll.

"Maraczi's" was moved two hundred feet from its original Boston Avenue location, for the widening of Boston Avenue to support a new bridge over a new freeway, originally called Route 8, then changed to Route 25.

With the "Maraczi's" magical location now gone, in subsequent visits in the seventies, I saw the New York-based franchise, "Duchess Hamburgers" gobble-up "Maraczi's".

"Duchess Hamburgers" also replaced "Fairway Market" (known as "Mohecan Market", with its "native-American boy" logo, for generations), at 56 Fairfield Avenue at Middle Street.

Each yearly visit saw another east side building demolished and replaced with a vacant lot. It was especially sad when the red-brick grammar school I had attended, Franklin Elementary on Nichols Street, and the very same school attended by my mother and two aunts, beginning in 1922, was torn down in the early eighties. This school, which had been the voting precinct for each election day for one hundred years, was now gone.

Changes started to occur more rapidly:

Grocery store chains started to disappear in CT; Pathmark, Grand Central, Grand Union, Shop-Rite, Daitch Shop-Well, King Cole/Walbaums, First National/Finast/Edwards, A & P......

The two apparent survivors were: Super Stop & Shop, and Shaws!!!

Then banks started to disappear in CT;

The four apparent survivors were Fleet (which had devoured Shawmut, which had devoured CNB, CBT, and State National Bank of CT), CitiGroup (which had devoured Mechanics & Farmers, City Savings, City Trust, and Chase Manhattan), Wachovia (which had devoured First Union, which had devoured????), and People's Bank (the one and original "Bridgeport-Peoples Bank").

My only one persistent view of Bridgeport occurred from the Remington Shaver commercials; spokesman/model Victor K. Kiam II, "I bought the company". These commercials were on TV in every city in which I lived (even Tokyo, Japan).

I recognized the Remington Shaver plant location at 60 Main Street, right next to "Homa's Refreshment Stand" and across the street from "Conty's Restaurant"; the northern entrance to Seaside Park and the eastern entrance to the campus of the University of Bridgeport (now called Sun-Moon U).

The Remington Shaver plant location was also known as "Loco-Mobile Point", named after the automobile-brand that was manufactured there prior to WW2.

"Loco-Mobile Point" was also the location of the WNAB radio transmitter from 1941 until 1958. One of Harding's Yearbooks (1959 or 1960) has a picture of the WNAB transmitter "shack" and antenna, located in Bridgeport harbor (connected by a long pier) on the inner leaf.

On my last visit in 2002, I was told that the huge vacant lots that occupied the east side of Bridgeport; south of the Metro North R/R Tracks (Crescent Avenue), east of the Pequonnock River, and west of Waterview Avenue, were to be sold to one, or both, of the heretofore unknown Connecticut Indian Tribes (Schaghticokes and Paugussetts), so that a huge gambling casino and mammoth parking lot could be built "on the Indian Nation", not subject to the laws of Connecticut.

What I don't understand is...these east side buildings started getting demolished in the mid-sixties...and the land was dormant for thirty or more years!  Who knew that "The Indian Nation" was on the horizon???


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

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