The Historical Society was saddened to hear the news of the closing of the Boston Shoe Store, shown above in the 1950’s when the block from the corner of Monroe Street to the Angelholm, then Williamson’s Fish Market, did not contain even one empty storefront. By our calculations the Boston Shoe Store opened its doors about 1885, 131 years ago although it was not always operated by the Bernardini family and it was not originally on the corner of Monroe Street.
The businesses between the Boston Store and Luigi’s Fruit Market,under the canopy above, came and went on a fairly regular basis but the Shoe Store and fruit store anchored the block for many decades. In this photo S Miner has a grocery store which later became Roy Ryan’s Book Store. When prohibition was repealed Luigi closed the fruit store and opened a bar perhaps because it was more profitable, it was certainly more exciting. During an incident in 1936 a patron became rowdy and was put out by Luigi, by then known to most as Louis, only to return by the back door where Mrs Bernardini blocked his way. When he pushed her aside Louis intervened and was told by the drunk, one Leo Skidds “Keep away from me Louis if you don’t want a bullet” and the shooting began. During a scuffle over the gun another patron was shot, although not fatally, and Skidds was finally subdued and charged with attempted murder.
The Boston Shoe Store Block did not change much over the years as can be seen in this 1950’s photo which also shows Hill’sBowlodrome on Monroe Street,a hangout for the boomer generation. Down the block are Sears and a grocery and beer store in what had been Luigi’s fruit market.
In more recent times Boston Shoe expanded and began carrying a larger line of shoes and athletic apparel. It will be sorely missed and not only by those who relied on it for their footwear. Our Main Street was once a vibrant and even an exciting place especially on weekends, a place to meet friends, bowl, eat, go to the movies or just hang out. The stores carried everything a family needed and more. The loss of another major store on the street is a serious blow to the many merchants who are making such a valiant effort to resurrect the Main Street.