The date is April 27, 1962, and it is a Friday afternoon in late spring, the perfect time to travel up and down the streets of Westerly. Much like 60 years from now, Broad, High, and Canal Streets are lined with a wide array of shops and restaurants where people from all walks of life often spend hours socializing. Today, we will take a walk up and down these very same streets as they are in 1962, stopping at several locations along the way.
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It is now just after 4 p.m. when the tour begins on the steps of the Westerly Town Hall. As we walk down Broad Street crossing over Union Street we will pass the Sears Roebuck Co. Department Store at 41 Broad Street where many in town both young and old shop for their clothes.  Next door to Sears is a long-standing local institution, Hoxsie Buick Automobile Dealers.
Currently, Buick is among the largest automobile producers in the country with more than 400,000 cars produced in 1962 alone. At Hoxsie’s, those with a family to transport may want to invest in an Invicta station wagon while those looking for more adventure can purchase a Skylark convertible which was introduced for the 1962 model year.
Those seeking a gift for a loved one should look no further than Woodmansee’s Gift Shop, which has been in operation for several decades and was previously run by Leclede Woodmansee as early as 1923. Nine years from now, Woodmansee’s will move a few doors down where it will continue to operate into the 21st Century. Just beyond Woodmansee’s, we find the entrance to the Dixon Square Building at 31 Broad Street. At the top of the stairs in Room 207 is a rather large beauty shop named Tina’s which is run by Tina and her husband.
Down the hall, you will find lawyers, doctors, and even the employment service for the State of Rhode Island which has been helping local workers find jobs for more than twenty years. Continuing our way down Broad Street, you’ll see Culley Hardware and the Plantation Bank of Rhode Island before we arrive at our next stop, the Singer Sewing Center, where you can not only purchase a brand new machine for your home sewing projects but also bring in a broken machine for repairs.
The Washington Trust Building is far and away the most noticeable building on Broad Street and is also our next destination. In addition to serving as the base of operations for the bank which first opened its doors on August 22, 1800, the building is also home to insurance agents, barbers, dentists, financial planners, and a local bureau of the Providence Journal to name a few.
On the fourth floor, you will find Skarrow’s, another beauty shop serving the community that is owned and operated by Mrs. Mary Skarrow and her sister, Camille. After departing the Washington Trust building, we will then cross Broad Street where we will arrive at the entrance to McCormick’s Department Store.
At McCormick’s, you will find just about anything you could need, ranging from shoes to perfumes, and dry goods to men’s and women’s apparel. After taking the time to peruse the shelves at McCormick’s to find the perfect pair of two-tone Mary Jane shoes, we will find ourselves back on Broad Street where we can then round the corner and make our way up High Street as we continue our tour.
As we begin our trip up High Street, to your right, you will notice the Westerly Post Office while on your left, you will see the People’s Savings Banks, a branch of the Providence-based bank which has helped many in town take out mortgages on their homes.
Just beyond the bank is perhaps the most well-known local spot, Vars Brothers Druggist and Stationers. Vars, which bills itself as “the drug store with more” has been operating at this very spot for more than forty years. Another of their famous taglines, “Meet me at Vars“ is rather appropriate, as the store‘s lunch counter has been described by locals as “bustling“  and is the perfect place to stop by for a toasted egg sandwich and a Cherry Coke. In addition to their popular food service, Vars also sold typical pharmacy fare including ”medicines, photographic supplies, toilet goods“ and even typewriter rentals.
As we make our way across High Street diagonally beyond the Post Office, let us make a brief stop at 25 High Street, home of the Mayflower Tea Room. This restaurant is owned and operated by George “the Greek” Tsouris and his wife, Kailope. The Tea Room is quite popular with sailors from Charlestown as George is known to give the men food on credit until their payday under one condition: that they listen to him play his mandolin.