Elm Street, New Canaan Postcard ca. 1974

Check out the photos and writing on this postcard from nearly 40 years ago. Who can say they were in town back then, honestly?


This postcard, for sale on eBay, is stamped at Georgetown CT on June 22, 1974 (my brother turned one in New Canaan that month and I'd be born nine months later, moving swiftly forward ...), so this is probably a good indication of what downtown New Canaan looked like at that time.

If I have my bearings right, we’re looking up Elm Street from where South Avenue comes in. You can still make out the numbers 106 and 124 on the road signs there on the corner.

In some ways it’s very familiar—looks like a one-way street with the parking spots set up the same way (ahem).

The inscription is interesting, and seems to speak to a simpler time. Sorry for the intrusion, “Barbara”—here’s what I think we’re reading:

“Hi—Had forgotten how humid the East is! Having a thunderstorm at the moment, which might help clear it up. Everything does look green & beautiful, & the laurel is all in full bloom. Cookie’s vegetable garden is full of peas, lettuce, beets etc., which we are eating constantly. Will call you Fri PM when we get home with Rudi—can’t wait! Miss our tennis! Best to you both — Barbara”

Equally interesting is the short descriptor printed on the back of the card, which I cannot make out completely:

“Elm Street, New Canaan, looking west — The primary shopping avenue first reached only from Main Street to South Avenue in 1848 but was later extended westward, to be renamed Railroad Avenue in 1868 with the coming of the rail line to New Canaan. The earlier name of Elm Street was restored in 1935.”

Now how about that?

Even the stamp is sort of interesting. It says "Progress in Electronics" and appears to have a lightbulb (Edison) on the left and I can't see what that is on the right.

The last thing I'll say about this postcard was that it struck me that this was the image of New Canaan that was a "seller" back then—sleepy, charming village (as the realtors now like to say) that isn't overly crowded and has trees. Can we still say that?

This postcard, available through eBay, is selling for 25 cents plus $1 shipping. (Guess some things have changed more than others.)

Rosemarie Festo March 09, 2013 at 11:30 PM
My grandparents and parents lived all their lives in New Canaan, so have I and my two children and four grandchildren live here now. Yep, I'm a native.. Rosemarie Andronaco [Re] Festo
Greenhill March 10, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Fat's was in town from 1983 until 1989 it was a total scene as was Mulligan's from 1988 until 1990 both places were fun and had bands. Now every chain store brand is here and the character is gone. We have become Westport.
Tom Cassidy March 10, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Libby's Diner may have still been there. Pierre's was another great burger place. Fats was huge in the 70's, packed every night in the summer. All on the north side of Elm St.
Terry Dinan March 10, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Fats opened in February 1973. Robert Mitchum was an attendee at the opening. He was a friend of owner Fred Steinberg; some speculated that he was a silent partner.
Suzanne Rhatigan March 11, 2013 at 12:50 PM
We've lived here since 1980 and while it doesn't look that different to me the stores are very different. I think only the Whitney shop and a few others are still in town. I loved Elm Crest, forgot the the deli was called the Deli bake - it was great! We also loved Fat Tuesday's (they had the best brandy Alexander's) and the original book store (the new one is really nice too - though). Town is much busier now but still beautiful. I think most of us forget how blessed we are to live in such a nice town.


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