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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Coffee Shop Cadillac: 1964

Coffee Shop Cadillac: 1964

"St. Clairs Coffee Shop and Mosher Record Store, Boston, night." Neon with a side of tailfin. 35mm negative, photographer unknown. View full size.

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Edison Electric Illuminating Company

Good eye, gwad! That is definitely a match. So, this places the St. Clairs' and Mosher Music on the first floor of the Edison Electric Illuminating Building, originally 180-182 Tremont St, but now renumbered as just 180 Tremont. Perhaps if the photo had been taken in daylight we'd be able to see the distinctive metal-edged overhang that appears on the building today, although it's possible that that's been retrofitted and wasn't there in the 1960s.

Interestingly, the Edison building was home to one of Boston's first radio stations, WEEI ("EEI" standing for Edison Electric Illuminating). It still exists as an AM/FM sports station, although it's now located elsewhere in Boston. And now that the building is owned by Emerson College, their own radio station, WERS, has its studio space just where the St. Clairs' was. I always wondered why they put the radio station there; perhaps it was because the building was already fitted with an antenna (although I'm sure it had to be upgraded).

In my research online I found that there was a St. Clairs' Fine Foods located nearby, on the corner of Berkeley and Boylston (where the Starbucks is now, for locals). I wonder if they were related businesses - the apostrophe in the same unconventional location is otherwise an unusual coincidence, perhaps.

Tremont doorway

The doorway with the "rosette-like" decorations around it marked 182 Tremont at the far right in our photo above seems to match the door currently marked as 180 Tremont in the Google street level view.


The 1969 Boston phone directory lists the St Clairs Coffee Shop at 180 Tremont St., which matches the number on the door, and Mosher Music next door at #181 (indicating street numbering only on one side of the street - the Boston Common is on the other side of Tremont). But the building now at that address (as seen in Google Street View) has clearly been there since at least the 20s or 30s based on the architectural style. I'd be curious if any of the folks who have posted remembrances on the other photos from this set recall where this building was - has Tremont been renumbered since the 60s?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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