Then and Now: A look at Gardner’s ‘Main’ menu – The Gardner News

Mike Richard| Special for The Gardner News

This vintage postcard has confused many people over the years who thought the depicted scene was from Parker Street, thanks to the awning in the foreground reading Leslies.

Longtime residents of Gardner would recall Leslies as a Parker Street store specializing in greeting cards, cameras and photography supplies, stationery and phonograph records, among other things. However, that was a different Leslies.

The one in the photograph was Leslies Lending Library, which was located at 88 Main St. circa 1935, which must have been about the time this picture was taken.

Today, if you were standing outside of the Blue Moon Diner and looking north up Main Street, you would get about the same view as the modern-day photo indicates.

Several apartments adorn the second floors of many of the buildings, while storefronts have new tenants that would not have quite fit in on Main Street of yesteryear.

For instance, Art on the Rocks a studio where you can paint a picture while enjoying your favorite adult beverage is at 96 Main St. In the next doorway at 94 Main St. is the Main Street Tattoo and Piercing Parlor, while 90 Main St. is home to The Cellular Exchange.

Imagine what folks in the 1930s would have thought knowing that some 90 years down the road some of these new businesses would find a home in the downtown area.

The old photo continues with the Lillie, Rosenberg and Goodnow blocks in the distance.

Here is a look back at some of the businesses, by location, going back from the early 1930s to the present, depicted in both photos. While this listing is not definitive, it includes many well-known landmarks at these locations over the years.

98 Main St. apartments

96 Main St. Gardner Post Office (1933-1935), Kenrich Sporting Goods (1945), True Art Fly Co. Fishing Supplies (1945), General Sports Shop (1950-1965), Main St. Pool Room (1977-2003), AT&T Wireless Dealer (2005), presently Art on the Rocks.

94 Main St. Blue Moon Beauty Salon (1940-1984), Added Touch Salon (1988), presently Main Street Tattoo and Piercing Parlor.

92 Main St. Ayer-United Cleaners & Dryers (1933), Manufactures Outlet Clothing (1940), Joes Barber Shop (1950-1955), Turks Barber Shop (1960), Berit Wigs (1970), Check It Out Kab (2005), presently vacant.

90 Main St. Potter Grain Store (1933-1945), Melatti Expressing (1950), Murphys News Agency (1950), D&S Pools (2005), presently The Cellular Exchange.

88 Main St. Leslies Lending Library (1933-1935), Worcester Telegram & Gazette Agency (1933-1935), Kendall Womans Shop (1940-1950), Western Auto Associate Store (1955), Holy Family Store Furniture (1960-1970), John C. Janes optometrist (1960), Anns Place (1977-1981), Gardner Rare Coins (1990), Barbers Beyond Dawn, presently vacant.

86 Main St. Postal Cable Telegraph Co. (1933), Ernest Leavitt opticians (1945-1950), Smith & Leavitt jewelers (1945-1950), Romeo Audette optometrist (1955).

84 Main St. Henry Parkis druggist (1933-1935), Peter Sargent atty., presently vacant.

82 Main St. Ernest Leavitt opticians (1933-40), Smith & Leavitt jewelers (1933-40), Roxys Cafe (1945-65), Gardner Welfare Office (1977-80), Mass. Welfare Office (1981-84), Tips by Teisha (2005).

80 Main St. Fred Villaris School of Self-Defense (1986-1990), Torres Martial Arts Center (2005).

78 Main St. Ritter for Flowers (1935), Mollies Hat Shop (1940), Louis Package Store (1945-1950), Sherwin-Williams Paint Co. (1960), Bar Harbor Clothing Outlet (1988-1989), New Image by Us Hair and Tanning Salon, presently Elite Nails.

74 Main St. John Barnes Auctioneer (1935), Frank Edgell insurance (1933-1935), Chairtown Cooperative Bank (1940-1970), Colonial Cooperative Bank (1977-1980), Chair City Credit Union (1981-1983), New England All-Bank (1983-1994), DAmbrosio Eye Care (1994-present).

72 Main St. Great A&P Tea Co. (1933), E.W. Munson Dentist (1945), Pats Beauty Shop (1950-1970), apartments (1970-present).

70 Main St. Ericksons Office Supplies (1945), Arnolds Fabrics (1955), J.E. Mack Florist (1965), Gardner Golden Age Headquarters (1970-1977), Catholic Charities (1980), H&R Block (1981-1983), YOU Inc. (1984-1988), Rays Appliances Quality Sales & Service, presently vacant.

68 Main St. Great A&P Tea Co. (1935), Star Market (1940), Ritter for Flowers (1945-1950), Gardner Appliance Co. (1950-2000), McFinn Flooring Co. (2005), recently Pleasant House of Pizza, Texas Chicken and Biscuits, presently vacant.

66 Main St. W.H. Ritter florist (1933), Leo Lakin clothing (1935-1945), Sacketts Clothing Shop (1950), Veterans Surplus Mens Furnishings (1955-1960), Montachusett Cable Co. (1970-1977), Catholic Charities Thrift Shop (1981), St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Shop (1983-1990), Don Legault Insurance (2005), 1st Choice Insurance (2006), presently vacant.

Brockelman Brothers grocery store opened on Aug. 14, 1923, at 50-52 Main St. Before that time, Morris Levine ran a dry goods store there in 1916, and L. Finkleman shoemaker was in the space from 1917 to 1920 before the block was renovated into the grocery store.

New England Telephone and Telegraph Co. moved into the storefront from 1956 to 1976, and later became the Country Store from 1977 to 1980. Bettys Flower Shop was there until 2002.

Presently at 50 Main St. are Best Tailors as well as Kitchen Plus. In addition, while Pauls Driving School was an institution on the second floor for nearly 50 years, today A.O. Driving School is located there. Mark Connors also offers guitar lessons in the spot he has maintained for several decades.

Comments and suggestions for Then and Now can be sent to Mike Richard at or in writing to Mike Richard, 92 Boardley Road, Sandwich, MA 02563.


Then and Now: A look at Gardner's 'Main' menu - The Gardner News

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