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Do you know where this is?

Byline: Melissa McKeon

COLUMN: THEN AND NOW

In this busy Worcester neighborhood, the building at the center of this 1951 photo was - and remains - one of those social gathering places that are an integral part of life in a city or town.

The building once housed the Jefferson Club, a social and political club, and that use seems to have dictated the building's future, as it later belonged to several other social clubs.

Clubs have a rich history in Worcester, where they might be centered around an interest or a cause or a political bent. Later in Worcester's history, many clubs centered on the city's thriving ethnic communities.

The social clubs were there to welcome immigrants and give them a place to gather with people who shared the same background, language and cultural identity, and probably shared the experience of coming to America.

These clubs might dispense advice and refreshments, or provide a place to play a game.

In the 20th century, with two world wars and millions of veterans, social clubs could also center on the veteran experience, and become a safe place for those who had done their part in those conflicts to share that unique experience with those who had been in the trenches with them.

The construction or reconstruction of any building for social club purposes was likely to make it difficult to use the facilities for any other purpose, so buildings like this were often destined to remain social clubs or turn into restaurants - or find themselves falling to the wrecking ball.

Though this one remained, the far larger building beyond it has gone.

Hint: The name of this street must be serendipity for the most recent tenant of this building.

- Melissa McKeon

Check in tomorrow's Telegram & Gazette for the answer.

ART: PHOTO

MEMO: COMPLETE IN CUTLINE
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 14, 2013
Words:302
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