If you went to WBSS you went to Ekengren’s Market (Eky’s). Other than being able to buy cigarettes when you were 6, what do you remember?
Check out this story from the Worcester Telegram. http://www.telegram.com/article/20160403/NEWS/160409859/14249/NEWS?rssfeed=true)
More WT&G Ink for Ecky’s
Then & Now: Do you know where this is?
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Posted Apr 3, 2016 at 12:01 AM Updated Apr 3, 2016 at 6:42 AM
To this dignified lineup, the market behind them was a serious business. Started in the early 1900s by Scandinavian immigrants, it endured for many years and supported several generations of the Ekengren family, who likely worked, as family members did in the family business, seven days a week.
This photo, taken in the 1930s, is a good example of what could be accomplished by such hard work; the business lasted through the Great Depression, and long after.
But if you were a student at a nearby school, this was not a business, It was a wonderland of their childhood experience, and a warm memory.
A child might stop there on the way to school to get a day’s worth of penny candy in a little paper bag – perhaps Bit ’O Honey or fire balls or caramels or clove gum. If you had a nickel, you could get Devil Dogs. There were Table Talk pies (little and big, one imagines), as well as crème horns and, for those looking for a savory snack, a pickle barrel. There was also a big cooler full of milk. Chocolate was, of course, a favorite. Older students remember the days when a delivery of large blocks of ice was necessary to keep the precious milk cold in that cooler. On a cold day, there was a potbelly stove to warm your hands by.
Hint: Immigrants from the north would have been comfortable in this part of the city.
– Melissa McKeon
See tomorrow’s Telegram & Gazette, and telegram.com, for the answer.
Then & Now: 137 West Boylston St., Worcester
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Posted Apr 4, 2016 at 3:00 AMUpdated Apr 12, 2016 at 1:53 PM
Though the grocery store is long gone, the building in North Worcester, where Ekengren’s Market occupied the first floor, is still there. This Old Clock Shop now occupies the old Ekengren’s space.
Started by Scandinavian immigrants, like so many businesses in this part of the city, Ekengren’s was once the largest market in Greendale and served, not just the students looking for penny candy, but the families in this neighborhood, also largely Scandinavian because of nearby Norton’s.
Father John and sons Victor, Philip and Henry Ekengren were the folks remembered as running the business. Many of them lived upstairs, in the upper floors of the three-decker.
The Ekengrens opened their store in the early 1900s, and several generations of the family ran it for at least 70 years, long enough for generations of students to remember their experience there. Students at the long-gone West Boylston Street School share their memories of Eky’s on a website devoted to the school, which was just down West Boylston Street from Ekengren’s for most of the years both were in existence. The West Boylston Street School closed in the 1970s, and was demolished to make way for entrance ramps to Interstates 190 and 290.
Like so many others of the Scandinavian community, the Ekengren family came to Worcester, where manufacturing was attracting others from Sweden. Norton Company, a manufacturer of abrasives, was located in North Worcester and attracted pottery experts from Sweden; Mr. Philip Moen, of Washburn and Moen, had studied in Sweden and brought back many people to work in the steel industry.
There were more than 20,000 Swedish-born immigrants in Worcester in the 1920s.
– Melissa McKeon, Correspondent
Thanks to Leslie Munns for transcribing these articles.