Now that summer seems to have finally arrived, these warm, lazy days reminded me of weekly occurrences – a parade of summer vacationers walking up Main Street for a stay at one of our local resorts. Our house was on East High Street where Citizen’s Bank is now located and I would watch from the sidewalk with great curiosity.
Back from the 1920s to 1950s,
East Hampton was the
home of several vacation hotels.
Not as grand as some of the famous
Catskill hotels such as Grossinger’s,
our Edgemere and Lakeview House
competed for New Yorkers seeking rest and relaxation and relieve from the city heat.
Every Friday afternoon throughout the summer, the train would deposit visitors at the depot (behind the Firehouse on Barton Hill). An old Mack truck would collect the luggage and cart it to the appropriate resort with the guests usually walking from the Village Center up Main Street and North Main to their final destination. On occasion, either the more affluent or those incapable of walking would call John Peterson who operated our local taxi service.
As interesting as Friday’s parade was, Sunday mornings were an even greater spectacle. The hub of activity was Thatcher’s Drug Store (the original location on the west side of the building) at the corner of Main Street and Route 6A (now Route 66). My weekly chore was to pick up the Hartford Courant and New York Journal American. Here I would hobnob and observe customers, townspeople, and these out of town vacationers alike as they picked up the Sunday paper or got a 10 cent cup of coffee or an egg cream. It’s almost unimaginable that upwards to 100 people could squeeze into the store with only 10 stools at the soda fountain. And there greeting this mob were Raymond “Deke” Thatcher (who was Comptroller of Connecticut) and Eaton Smith (Director of Food & Drug for the State) who manned the cash register.
It was a wonderful time.
We’ll unlikely never see a return of vacation resorts on Lake Pocotopaug, but maybe we will all experience a return of the crystal clear waters the Lake once had.