Greetings and well wishes from a soon-to-be sloppy Easton. A steady drizzle this morning will soon turn to a messy mix of snow and rain as March holds true to its tradition of coming in like a lion!
Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour tonight or you will be an hour late for everything tomorrow!
Our annual dues letter has been sent out, and I thank all of you who have already returned your dues. We are very thankful for your continued support and interest in Easton history! There are some non-members who receive these weekly emails. I have attached our dues letter so you can see what we have been doing as well as a membership form. If you enjoy reading about Easton's history, please consider becoming a member and supporting the work being done to preserve Easton's history.
Today I thought I would share a little bit about several matchbook covers in our collection. Four examples are pictured here, and of course, there could be many more. Matchbooks were given away as a courtesy when smoking was acceptable indoors at restaurants, stores, etc. Places that sold cigarettes and cigars and pipes had matchbooks on hand as well. Someone got the idea early on that this common item would make a terrific advertising piece, and the idea of using matchbook covers to promote a business took off. Here are four such items from Easton.
First, from the left, is a matchbook advertising hot meals at Prior's Duck Lunch, Route 138, South Easton. Prior's had a large duck farm (one of several in Easton) during the 1920's-early 1940's around the area of the current South Easton Motor Sales. The family ran a restaurant further south on Route 138, near the Raynham line, where you could land your plane at Prior's Airfield, get a good lunch, and then continue your trip. Many people driving the State Road, as it was called, also could find a good meal there. For a brief time the family opened a second location called Prior's Annex, located at the intersection of Routes 138 and 106.
Second is a nice example of the local neighborhood store advertising their business. The Corner Store, Columbus Avenue, seems like it was always there in one name or another, and in either the old store or the current Peach market building. During the 1940's and 1950's the store gave away matchbooks like this to customers. The hours are given as well as the phone number, 575, which helps us date this item. The usual "Thank You" and "Call Again" messages are included.
Next, we have a nice matchbook from Fernandes Super Markets. I remember the store very well, with its lunch counter, fresh bakery items, and many give-aways for customers who shopped there. This cover lets customers know about their quality meat selection, and "those wonderful Gold Bond Stamps" were available. The hours are listed (the same hours as the Corner Store!) and on the inside cover, there is a list of the eight stores in the chain (Norton, North Easton, East Bridgewater, Randolph, Plainville, Brockton, New Bedford, and Walpole.). This cover dates to the 1960's.
Our fourth cover is from one of Easton's iconic restaurants / lounges that populated the "State Road" or Route 138. The Four Hundred Club was owned and operated by the Darling family for decades, and was one of the upper class restaurants in the area. Besides featuring excellent food and locally grown vegetables in season, the club featured regular entertainment and dancing in its lounge, everyday but Sunday (the old Blue Laws were still in effect then.) The back cover features cocktail classes, a bandleader's hat and baton, and a piano. The message is clear - this is the place to go for a night out! The inside advertises their specialties and amenities such as hosting banquets, weddings, business meetings, bridal showers, a private room, and ample parking. The inside cover also includes the old CEdar phone number and an image of a rotary dial phone.
Until next week, stay well,
Anne Wooster Drury