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Panoramic Photograph of Woodbury, Connecticut Business Building

African American Shopkeeper

An evocative scene in front of a small New England business buiding on Main Street in Woodbury, Connecticut (Litchfield County). Among the group of people standing in front of the shops is an African American man wearing an apron and a neat straw boater's hat (possibly the proprietor or employee of one of the shops). An African American woman and a young African American boy can also be seen in the image.  

The photograph, which is very sharp and nice, also shows several horse-drawn wagons, a young man with a bicycle (a distinctive model with an impressive spring seat), and a small boy with a tricycle.  Several onlookers observe from second-story windows, perhaps members of the Hitchcock family.

F. F. Hitchcock's hardware and plumbing business was founded in 1870. Hitchcock owned the building, and the enterprise continues to this day. The building is illustrated on page 197 of Julia Minor Strong's Town and People... of Woodbury Connecticut, who states that Hitchcock commenced as a merchant "in the year 1870, on becoming the purchaser of this location, the business was transferred to Main Street in July, 1876...This store carries a large stock of goods, and the patrons include the citizens of the various towns about this valley. Henry Hitchcock, his son, has been identified with the business for several years."

Various signs are visible in the photograph:

  • F. F. Hitchcock Glass, Wooden Ware &c. Agents for National Sheet Metal Roofing Co.'s Metallic Shingles and Gold Coin Stoves and Ranges by the Bussey & McLeod Stove Co.
  • Dentist
  • Printing Office (with another sign nearby, possibly for a Woodbury newspaper).
Condition Description
Original albumen photograph, mounted on board. Some very minor surface abrasions and light soil. Overall very clean and nice. A sharp image. There is an erroneous label "Santa Cruz" in pencil in the lower right corner.
Strong, Julia Minor. The Town and People; a Chronological Compilation of Contributed Writings from the Present and Past Residents of the Town of Woodbury, Connecticut (1901), page 196-197.