Then & Now: A Stroll Down Front Street

Nelson Dionne gives us a look at Front Street as it once was.

Nelson Dionne is at it again with another selection from his vintage Salem photos archive.

Today, he's giving us a look at Front Street from the 1970s.

Here is what Nelson had to say about this particular selection:

"Attached is one of my photos of Front Street from circa 1970 with bad color due to using cheaper Anscochrome film."

The film might be older, but it's still pretty cool to catch a view of this street 42 years ago. Visible in the right side of the frame is the Subway Market (now Seed Stitch) Also visible is Goldstein's (now J. Mode), which provided plumbing services.

Do you remember these businesses or any others from Front Street from days past? Share your memories in the comments.

We've also provided a view of the street today, which we shot while standing near RoOst, the beehive and other businesses at Derby Square.

If you have any vintage Salem photos you would like to share email Editor Aubry Bracco.

Antoine M. Boisvert February 23, 2012 at 12:27 PM
What was at the site of the parking lot on the corner of Front and Lafayette? I can see a building there, but not what it was.
randy thomas deschenes February 23, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Antoine, The old beef & oyster house was at the end of the street.. About 37 yrs or so. That was my grandfathers restaraunt. then they bought the building at the other end of front st on the other side. That was the new Beef & oyster house, with the antheneum lounge upstairs. the good old days .50 cents an hour to wash dishes at the old beefy. graduated to busboy @ the new one when I was a teen with my cousin Joseph R. Ingemi #3 rip
gene February 23, 2012 at 01:06 PM
The original Beef & Oyster was the best! Kind of lost its charm and way after it moved.
William Legault February 23, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Antoine, after the original Beef & Oyster moved there was a Jewelry Shop on that corner. You can see it in a photo that ran a couple of weeks ago.
Ancient Observer February 23, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Corner of Front & Lafayette? I THINK that's the corner of Front & Central. In that lot were , I believe, The original Red's, Sushel's Bakery and possibly Langmaid's lumber. Also on Front were Jakie Share's stationary store (not even sure if that was the name but I sure do remember Jake Share) and the Colonial Men's Shop. I believe that Peter Meo owned it. Pep Cornacchio worked there. I still have an overcoat that I bought there. I'd love to know when the store went out of business so that I can get a "carbon-date" on how old it is (50 years?)
Ancient Observer February 23, 2012 at 01:36 PM
There was also a "bucket of blood" bar that occupied the corner of the building that housed the Beef & Oyster nearest the Old Town Hall. Can't remember the name. And, of course, the building on the other corner was the home of the Salem News for years.
Alex Leondis Panos February 23, 2012 at 02:27 PM
On the corner was Madore's Jewelry store then there was the Brass Rail (Beef and Oyster later on) and then there was A Hair Salon " Hair Fashions" Jake Shaer had a stationary store and the current law offices were the Welch construction co. Alex
Alex Leondis Panos February 23, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Try The Alamo
Ancient Observer February 23, 2012 at 02:32 PM
The Alamo it was!! I think that Colnial Men's Shop was in the downstairs portion of the building currently housing the law offices.
Alex Leondis Panos February 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I believe it was next to the Subway Market
Patty Portnoy February 23, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I remember going to Jake Shaers store. It always scared me a little because it was always messy. He knew where everything was though.
Diane February 23, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Fond memories...my Uncle Paul's store, Subway Market..my Pepere worked there along with Uncle Armand, who later had a store on Essex street. I remember the old wooden phone booth, and yes, Jake's was messy, but he could find anything in seconds. Loved the Saturday night open air markets, and Bickford's Cafeteria, also Rizzo's Spaghetteria over by the old police station....next door was a fabric shop.
Diane February 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thank you, Nelson.
john February 23, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I often think about a restaraunt my family would go to after church on Washington St. I think it was called Gerbers and if I remember there was a big fire there at one time. I could be wrong on some of my memories but we did go some place in that area near the corner of Front and Wash.
Diane February 23, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Yes. Gerber's not Bickford's.
john February 23, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Do you remember where Gerbers was located?
William Legault February 23, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Gerbers was in Town House Square, where the Samantha Statue now sits. It burned down in a big winter time fire in either 1968 or 1969.
john February 23, 2012 at 09:56 PM
We would go to church at St Mary's,four kids and our parents,and then to Gerbers. It seemed like everyone left church and went to Gerbers,all the same people. I remember seeing photos after the fire with everything iced over.
Lawrence Blasi February 23, 2012 at 09:58 PM
It was the Beef & Oyster Resturant Owned by Ingimi family
William Legault February 23, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I watched the Gerber's fore with my father ( the Red Dog of days of yore). The water from the hoses would freeze as it ran off the buildings wall. Large cascades of ice were formed beneath the roof and the windows on the top floor. Mike Holloran Remembered this fire in his interview a few months back. http://salem.patch.com/articles/the-holloran-brothers-and-45-years-of-fire-fighting-a7cfdc23
Ancient Observer February 23, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Bickfords was, I believe, next to City Hall. Had a black faux marble facade.
RWSshs66pu70 February 24, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Stanley's cafeteria style restaurant was also between Front Street and what was then Salem Savings Bank (now Eastern).
RWSshs66pu70 February 24, 2012 at 01:04 AM
The Gerber's fire burned for 3 days, in the end leaving a brick facade frozen in ice. The reason the fire burned so long was, allegedly, because the grease trap hadn't been cleaned out in a long time. The temperatures while the fire was being subdued hovered at or below zero degrees. I believe that the year was actually 1971.
Norma Vogel February 24, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Excuse me but my grandfather Louis Gerber owned Gerber's and he would not allow the grease trap to be dirty. He was a meticulous man and this type of rumor would have him turning over in his grave. And yes it was 1971. RIP Granddad, I love you,.
RWSshs66pu70 February 24, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I apologize to both you and your grandfather Norma, for any offense my post committed.
Alex Leondis Panos February 24, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Gerbers had the Best best corned beef on rye on the planet
Norma Vogel February 25, 2012 at 02:46 PM
RWS, thank you and we both accept your apology. After 40+ years of Gerber's, my grandfather sold the restaurant and the fire was shortly after the new owner took over. Even if the new owner did have dirty grease, it would be associated with my grandfather's name, and he didn't deserve that legacy. Alex, yes, the best on the planet. Thank you. Sometimes I use a Gerber's placemat when I eat a sandwich but it's never the same.
Christina Hayman March 23, 2012 at 01:24 AM
My grandfather, Peter Meo Sr was the owner of the Colonial Men's Shop on Essex Street. It closed in 1989 after being open for 33 years. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away this morning (March 22, 2012) at the age of 97. He lived an outstanding life and had the opportunity to get to know eight great grandchildren. He would have been pleased to know that people remembered his store.
Ancient Observer March 23, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I now know that my still in use, still in style overcoat with the "Colonial Men's Store" label is at least 23 years old. Quality merchandise indeed!!!!


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