Saturday, December 12, 2009

They're Talking About Lynn - 50s - Central Square

This post really excites me. As I look out the windows from the top floor of a Central Square loft, it's so much fun to think about the history of this great downtown area.  So intrigued by the potential of the lot across the street (currently a Mayo parking lot) and the empty square next to Lynn Arts. So much potential. Who will tap it first? Let's see how this post inspires you.

More from Cathy (Brooks) Kibbey on Central Square

I remember Central Square very vividly.  There was so much going on there.  Just before you took the curve of Union Street to enter Central Square was Connolly's Chocolates.  Clearly on Union Street but just before you took the curve.  It was the best candy store around.  But it was so much more than candy.  It was gourmet before gourmet became a common buzz word.  As soon as you entered the shop painted in pale yellow there was the sweet smell of chocolate followed by display cases of hard and soft chocolates on the left and an extensive  display of fudge on the right.  All these treats were made on the premises.   Each selection of chocolates was was personally selected by the buyer and wrapped by a salesperson and placed in a cream covered box with the Connolly's  logo andfasrened with a gold ribbon.  Each season they specialized in special candies.  At Easter they had large chocolate covered eggs with various fillings.  Just a few doors down from Connolly's and just on the curve to Central Square was Kennedy's Egg and Butter Store.  There you could purchase fresh eggs, butter, freshly churned peanut butter, and freshly ground coffee.

As you entered the square there were  a variety of stores. Several small jewelry stores, pawn shops, The White Tower (not to be confused with White Castle), Klemm's Bakery (as mentioned previously in a blog), Arnold Stationary and the Waldorf  Cafeteria.  I remember in the mid fifties going to the Waldorf Cafeteria with my mother, aunt and cousins for lunch and then waiting outside for the bus to take us to Boston to see The Lady and the Tramp at the Majestic (now the Wang). 

Across the street in the square was Essex County Bank. But before that, it was Hunt's Restaurant.  Always crowded and always family fare.  Bissett Jewelry store seemed always to be there.  Buddy Bissett was the jeweler and his sister-in law assisted him.  You could always get a square deal from Buddy. 

Memory doesn't provide me with more information on that side of the street.  However, there was Orlannoff's Luggage and Leather Store next to Bissett's which you could always get  quality monogrammed  wallets or luggage.  

Still in the square and under the railroad pass there was a cluster of stores leading to Exchange Street.  One was Jake Bluestein's Poultry Shop which was situated at the bus stop.  It was a Kosher poultry shop with rotisserie chickens rotating in the window.  The aroma was phenomenal!  By the time you took the Highland Circuit bus home your appetite was peaked. There was  a smoke and newspaper shop, which was not uncommon for the times and another Pawn Shop.  Then there was the Pine Crest Lounge.  Dimly lit with booths and offering a variety of specials.  The luncheon specials usually tasted good for the right price.  There was the customary smell of stale beer, and just enough darkness to hide a multitude of sanitation sins.  Ah, those were the days before hand sanitizers and sneezing into your elbow.  The Capitol Diner was as good then as it is today. It is wonderful that some things never change...when so many good things do.   A taxi stand was situated under the railroad as well, but I seldom ever got to ride in a taxi when the bus was right across the street for only 15 cents.     

If you were out of work and/or  just hung around Central Square you got the handle as being a "Central Square Bum".  Clearly not a complimentary reference.  However, there was lot happening there and if you were a "bum" what better place to hang around?


I completely agree Cathy. It sounds like a wonderful place to hang around and we're starting to see the seeds of that return to being a true hangout. With Blue Ox and soon Turbine, Lynn Arts, Capitol Diner, Campus Coffee, and Charlie's we're returning Central Square to it's rightful glory.

When you talked about Buddy, I couldn't help but think of Omar and Oscar today. Fantastic service and great jewelry. I never feel like I am getting a bad deal there.

When you talked about the bus to Boston to see a show, I immediately think about the recent City Council meeting where they discussed a shuttle service to Boston, Foxwoods, Mohegan, and NYC.

Great stuff. Keep em coming Cathy. We're all enjoying your memories very much. Thank you for sharing your memories of our dear Central Square. 



  1. The Chinese restaurant on the corner of Market St was a Papa Ginos..if you look close you'll be able to tell

  2. OK...who remembers...the butcher shop that sold tomato sausages??

  3. I grew up with the blue "Willow" pattern dishes that the Capital theater was giving away, one dish at a time.

    We always used those dishes to eat our tomato sausages.

    It began with a "K". Not Klems - that was the bakery. Was it "Kennedy's"?

    Oh, to find those incredible tomato sausages.

  4. Bob T from CT, grew up in LynnSaturday, December 22, 2012 at 9:17:00 AM EST

    The wonderful Jewish deli that one poster mentioned was Harold's Delicatessen. Their pastrami sandwiches were incredible. I still remember the saying on their menu board on the back wall:
    One's not enough
    Two's too many
    Order one and a half
    And you won't leave any.

  5. Good job! don't forget "Quality Donuts" @ 15 Central Square Lynn,Ma

  6. Thank you for the walk back in time.The smoke shop was named Dover Smoke.


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