#ThrowbackThursday: What Your Town’s Downtown Looked Like in 1934

A vintage postcard showing Main Street in Derby/File Photo

A vintage postcard showing Main Street in Derby/File Photo

Back in 1934, before Interstate 95 and other major connectors were built to patch together the disparate corners of Connecticut, the State completed an aerial survey of every inch of the Nutmeg State to document state land. The result is a massive amount of data that other states can only dream of. If you want to see what your neighborhood, block or street looked like 79 years ago, you can.

And now, thanks to a collaborative project between Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Libraries, Map and Geographic Information Center, how every square foot of this state has changed over the decades. The groups have stitched together the images and now offer a fascinating tool, which allows internet users to view any address in the state back in 1934, next to what it looks like now.

In some of these towns and cities, you’ll see a wholesale change, as farm pastures have been transformed into residential villages. In others, you’ll see the square boxes indicating houses in 1934 transform into a more urban, downtown commercial feel. And yes, the shady dots you see by the thousand in 1934 that have mysteriously disappeared by the 2013 version are trees. Some of the most interesting changes occur in towns where you can say major highways, like Route 8 or Interstate 95 pop up in the time between the two photos.

So without further ado, in honor of #ThrowbackThursday, here’s a peek at what the address of each Southwestern Connecticut town or city’s Town Hall looked like in 1934, and what it looks like these days.

And in case you’re curious, you can look up your own neighborhood (or anyone else’s for that matter) at the MAGIC website here.


Maggie Gordon