New Canaan Now & Then: Elm Street Between South and Main


Now & Then: Elm Street Between South and Main

The New Canaan G. C. Murphy originally opened in 1924 in the Raymond Building on Main Street. Murphy’s was a national chain of five-and-dime stores that opened its first store in Pittsburgh in 1906.  In 1939, Murphy’s owners razed the building that was formerly occupied by Stevens Auto Cab and built the storefront which is now occupied by Ralph Lauren at 51 Elm. The new store, pictured here, opened on March 14, 1940 and remained in operation at this location until 1963.

This photograph, taken sometime around 1947, is only one of four color photographs that the Museum has of downtown New Canaan from this era.

The white building at the bottom right is Walter Stewart’s at its Main Street location, which is now the extension of the Chase Bank. Just to the left of Stewart’s is the corner of the Raymond Building with its original facade. Also notice that Elm Street was only partially one way at this point. It was only one way from Main Street to South Ave with the rest of the block being open to two way traffic as shown by the cars parked in the opposite direction in the lower right of the photo.

“New Canaan Now & Then” is presented in partnership with the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society.

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