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January 16, 2022

A Look Inside Stores in Southbridge, Massachusetts in 1953-54

Southbridge is a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Although Southbridge has a city form of government, it is legally known as the Town of Southbridge. The city has a total area of 20.9 square miles (54 km2), of which 20.4 square miles (53 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), or 2.40%, is water. Southbridge is drained by the Quinebaug River.

Southbridge was formed out of portions of three of its neighboring towns: Sturbridge to the west, Charlton to the north, and Dudley to the east. The other neighboring town is Woodstock, Connecticut to the south.

Southbridge has a long history of manufacturing optical products, earning it the unofficial title "Eye of the Commonwealth", in reference to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

By the early 1960s, the mill town had a movie theatre, an AM radio station (WESO), and an airport. New immigrants from Puerto Rico, Laos, and Vietnam began arriving in the 1970s and 1980s, and the town now has a significant Hispanic and Puerto Rican population.

These vintage photos from dickwhitney were taken by Don Whitney that show the inside of stores in Southbridge, Massachusetts in 1953 and 1954.

1953 in Foley's News - Ammidown Building on Main St (Now Savers Coop)

1953 in Foley's News - Ammidown Building on Main St (Now Savers Coop)

Woolworths Dept Store, Main St, Southbridge

Paquette Stationery, Main St, Southbridge

First National Grocery Store, Main St, Southbridge

South Street Market, South Street

South Street Market, South Street

Mitch Dune in his barber shop cutting my hair in 1954

A young George Vasil getting his hair cut by Marcy (Massimo) Pettinelli

Mitch Dune's shop was located on Central Street. According to Phil Pettinelli (Marcy's son): The space had an entrance from what is now the Savers parking lot, behind the current sports card store and before getting to The Corner Pocket

(Photos © Don Whitney)


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