Archive for the ‘…all the old familiar places’ category

Dedham Tales- An Anniversary

February 16, 2013

Who is this man?  Where in Dedham is he sitting?  Why did he come here?  Answers coming soon…

Shiretown 3.13

Aerial views of old Dedham accompanied by quotes from Steely Dan songs

June 16, 2012

Some screen shots from Bing maps. Looks like their photos need to be updated!

“And I’m never going back to my old school…”

St. Mary’s was closed for nearly as long as it was open.  I graduated from there in 1973, the year it was announced that the school would close in 2 years. It was torn down in the fall of 2010.

“Everyone’s gone to the movies…”

The Showcase Cinemas stood at the corner of Elm St. and Route 1 for 35 years,  yet the Frosty’s ice cream stand  that occupied this spot for 10 years seems to be more fondly remembered, at least with Dedhamites of my generation.

“Bad sneakers and a Piña Colada my friend…”

The bad sneakers were issued to me during my unexceptional stint on the Dedham High track team.  They were black canvas with white stripes, a big white rubber toe and crepe-like soles.  We called them bobos.

The Piña Colada (my friend) is a reference to the drinking that went on at the Practice Field (upper right in photo) back in my high school days, although it’s more likely they were drinking Schlitz. Today a renovated Stone Park and new Avery School can be seen in this view. 35 years ago this month, I received my DHS diploma here.

Where’d the tower go?

May 3, 2011

The firehouse on Bussey St. in East Dedham recently got a makeover, but even with its new siding it is clear that something seems to be missing on the right hand side. That something is the bell tower which can be seen in this drawing from a 1933 map of the town:

The question is… where’d the tower go?
FIND OUT LATER THIS WEEK!

New Deal Art in the Post Office

April 23, 2011

Early Rural Mail Delivery by W. Lester Stevens
© Damianos Photography

Early Rural School by W. Lester Stevens
© Damianos Photography

How many times have you been in the post office in the Square and seen these paintings in the lobby and wondered who painted them, when were they installed there, and why? Well, now the wondering is over.

The two murals, Early Rural Mail Delivery and Early Rural School are the work of Rockport based artist W. Lester Stevens (1888-1969), who created the oil on canvas murals in 1936 as part of the Treasury Relief Art Project (TRAP), one of several art programs which fell under the umbrella of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the New Deal agency that employed millions during the Depression.

The federal art programs were created to not only help out-of-work artists, but to enable average Americans to view and enjoy works of arts for free in public spaces. Hundreds of murals were installed in post offices, schools, and federal buildings across the country. Most of the art depicted inspiring scenes from America’s past. You can view 40 other works of New Deal art that survive in Massachusetts (and many more across the country) at this website: http://www.newdealartregistry.org


A comic strip from 1939 featuring a Post Office mural

Dedham is fortunate to have such a treasure; go see it in person in the Post Office lobby, 611 High St.
Thanks again to Joe Flynn and George Milne of the Dedham Post Office for their help in photographing the murals, and to Lynne Damianos for the great photos.

The Dedham Post Office at 75

April 19, 2011


July, 1935


September, 1936


April, 2011 © Damianos Photography

The Dedham Post Office on High St. celebrated its 75th anniversary last October. The cornerstone was laid in a ceremony the previous April. Thanks to Customer Service Supervisor Joe Flynn for the following pictures which show the progress of the construction throughout 1935.


February, 1935: I love this picture which shows a great side view of Memorial Hall, which was located where the police station now stands.


April, 1935


June, 1935: Looks like Bonnie and Clyde have stopped by to check out the progress of the construction.
NEXT: The Post Office Murals

More Mall!

May 20, 2010

These scans are ads from the Dedham Transcript’s 1986 supplement celebrating the town’s 350th anniversary. The first pic shows that odd little sunken garden where people could sit and relax. Also visible is one of my favorite stores- Paperback Booksmith. I would browse there while my father did the grocery shopping at Stop and Shop down the other end. I remember once spotting this creepy looking paperback with a silver reflective cover and being immediately drawn to it- Stephen King’s The Shining.

This ad lists all the stores that were still in business in September, 1986. Woolworth’s was still hanging in there in ’86, but. alas, looks like Wrangler Wranch had reached the end of the trail.

Working at the Mall

May 13, 2010

My first job at the Mall was as a stockboy at Woolworth’s during my junior year. A few of the neon letters in the outdoor sign were always broken, so we called it oolwo’s. They let me have a bookcase they were going to throw out, and I still have it in the classroom in which I teach in Framingham. And I still have this name tag for some reason.

Wrangler Wranch
Senior year I moved down the mall to Wrangler Wranch, across from Bradlee’s. This was one of the Mall’s first stores and was originally called Mr. Slacks. It was a fun job, even though I was a lousy salesman. I remember making a little boy cry when I told his mother that maybe a “husky” size would fit him better. I used to go into Pewter Pot and get a chocolate chip muffin heated up in the microwave smothered in butter. I think I worked here through my senior year in college, when my retail career at the Dedham Mall ended.

Note the Wrangler corduroy flares and groovy Earth shoes