Fairhaven Water Tank Berdon Plaza
Having grown up in nearby Fairhaven during the 80s, I was excited to come across a video on YouTube of a car filming Fairhaven as it went along Route 6. After a good 30 minutes of rewinding, pausing and exclaiming “Hey!” I thought to myself this is something that HAS to be shared. I can’t recall how many times I have reminisced with friends about all our favorite establishments growing up. To accompany the video, I thought it would be fun to bring up all of the favorite spots that I could recall. But since my memory is pretty dismal, and since a two way conversation is so much more interesting, I was hoping that the readers could chime in with corrections or additions. So without further ado, and in no particular order let’s take a stroll down memory lane!
1. Fairhaven Water Tower
This water tower stood near where Burger King is today. It was built in 1902 and replaced an earlier one that was erected in 1887. It’s first incarnation was one of the first elevated water-tanks with a curved bottom ever erected in the country and one of the largest of the type built up to this time. After it’s rivets let loose the water tower burst on November 19, 1901. A year later the new one was erected, dubbed Baby Blue and lasted until 1988.
A&W Root Beer was where Honey Dew donuts stands today and had those famous Root Beer floats that we all loved so dearly. There was something special about their root beer that they have been brewing since 1919. It was the site of my first Bacon Cheeseburger. There was no other burger “joint” you could go to and have a hamburger and a hot dog!
3. Barbero’s Pizza & Sub Shop
This was THE spot for pizza in Fairhaven for the longest time. I vaguely remember the variety of toppings, but remembering there being a lot to choose from. I didn’t like thin pizza anywhere else. Barbero’s always loaded their pies with generous amounts of toppings. Save 10 coupons and get a FREE pizza! WOO HOO! This was my brother’s favorite place to eat whenever he would get a break from military duty. We always bee-lined it for Barbero’s. This was right next door to A&W and there was even a mini-golf course right next door, but don’t recall whether it was a separate business or part of Barbero’s. They closed their doors in 1998. If you want a ton of great old photos of Barbero’s there is even a “Remembering Barbero’s” Facebook!
4. Howard’s Used Cars
Howard’s used cars was right next door to the Huttleston House Restaurant down a bit from A&W and Barbero’s. I believe they relocated a few years back to Arsene Way, but am unsure. Howard’s was the number one place in the area to buy a car besides Sam Giammalvo’s. You didn’t need to got to Giammalvo’s, because we had Howard’s right here in Fairhaven!
5. Brook’s Drugs
Today the site is Sweet Ginger Chinese Restaurant, but back then it was Brook’s Drugs. Before there was a CVS, Walgreens or Rite-Aid every 10 feet there was Fairhaven’s Brook’s Drugs with it’s familiar red neon sign.
6. Star Store
The Star Store was in the Fairhaven or Berdon Plaza. At one time there were quite a few Star Stores in the area. A Star Store had opened in New Bedford as early as 1898 and was run by New Bedford Dry Goods Co. That particular store had the nation’s first escalator. Star Store was the original Wal-Mart with a deli, clothing department, jewelry, cosmetics, pet center and more.
Almac’s was in the same Berdon or Fairhaven Plaza that the Star Store was in. It was the number one destination for groceries. Of course, it is now Shaw’s Supermarket. Was the Mammoth-Mart in the plaza then?
8. Phoenix Restaurant (they are back open!)
There was simply no better place to get late night breakfast after pub crawling with friends. The place was packed at all hours, was inexpensive and the food came out fast. Because they catered to the late night bar crowd, eventually they had to hire security. After a number of fist fights, they eventually had to hire police officers. When you have a breakfast establishment and need security or police detail, it’s only a matter of time. Still miss that place!
9. Bowling Alley
In the plaza where Stop ‘n Shop and the new Rocky/Ace Hardware was the Fairhaven Bowling Alley. There were not only bowling lanes, but a fair amount of video games and a bar. This was the place that I had my first under-age drink! Between the Bowling Alley and Skate-Plus the teen dating scene was cornered!
This was perhaps my fondest memory of all ten. The Drive-In that was built in 1951 is near the Huttleston Motel and the sign still stands. It could fit up to 800 cars! I can’t recall the number of times we hid in the trunk or back of the van to pay a lesser admission to enter. I feel sadness for the entire generation that grew up and hadn’t experience a drive-in. Fumbling with putting the radio on your car door, intermission meaning a scramble to the concession stand, and simply laying sprawled on the car hood while watching a great early 80s movie. The theater closed in 1985. Fond times. Will someone please buy this and re-open it?!?