1971 - Main Street - 2012.



WORCESTER - OK, the photograph we highlighted yesterday to debut our new Then & Now feature was pretty easy to figure out.

But for those who didn't know the locale that was featured, the photo, at bottom, - taken May 25, 1971 - showed the stretch of Main Street that runs in front of City Hall.

Today's picture, top, shows the change.

Big retailers like Sears Roebuck and Co. that once dominated the length of Main Street from Ionic Avenue to the old state court complex near Lincoln Square are gone. W.T. Grant's, for example, went out of business in 1976.

Across the country, retail businesses abandoned downtown in favor of large shopping centers.

Fortunately, much of the old retail space in downtown Worcester is now home to banks, insurance companies and other service-oriented businesses.

For example, the large Denholm's building opposite City Hall is now occupied by accounting offices, small businesses and social service agencies, such as United Way of Central Massachusetts.

A couple of mainstay downtown buildings have been demolished since the 1971 photo was...

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