Things have changed on Endicott's Washington Avenue... and looking back over the decades, there have been some very big changes.

According to historian Gerald Smith, the original idea for the business district known to many simply as The Avenue was developed by the Endicott Land Company around 1900.

A 1916 view of Washington Avenue with the village hall on the right and an Endicott Johnson factory smokestack in the background. (Photo: Broome County Historical Society)
A 1916 view of Washington Avenue with the village hall on the right and an Endicott Johnson factory smokestack in the background. (Photo: Broome County Historical Society)
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The company owners wanted to plan a community that included factories to the north of North Street with residences developed along Main Street.

Smith said Washington Avenue - between North and Main streets - was set aside as a retail corridor. Municipal parking lots eventually were developed behind Washington Avenue businesses.

The historian said The Avenue has evolved a lot since the village of Endicott was incorporated in 1906.

This 1921 image of The Avenue is on display at Franks Barber Shop at 23 Washington Avenue. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
This 1921 image of The Avenue is on display at Frank's Barber Shop at 23 Washington Avenue. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Over the years, businesses have come and gone. Washington Avenue was very busy for many decades during the 20th century.

With the decline of Endicott Johnson and IBM in recent decades, there have been some tough times along The Avenue. But new businesses continue to open. Some succeed and some don't.

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A view of Washington Avenue from around 1945. (Photo: Broome County Historical Society)
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An "Shop the Avenue" advertisement in The Evening Press on December 3, 1973 listed dozens of participating merchants. Virtually all now are history.

They were listed by category: Bakery - Elk's Bakery. Banks - Endicott Bank of New York, Endicott Trust Company, Delaware County Federal Savings & Loan Association, and First City National Bank.

Cards & Gifts - Griswold's. Decorating & Gifts - Caravan Shop. Department Stores - The Burt Company, J.J. Newberry Company and Woolworth's. Dinnerware & Gifts - Danel Inc. Florists - Angeline Florist and Endicott Florist.

A view of Endicott Florist at 119 Washington Avenue on December 12, 2023. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
A view of Endicott Florist at 119 Washington Avenue on December 12, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Footwear - Dwyer's Junior Shoes, Endicott Johnson Shoe Store, Endicott Shoe Company, Nettleton Shoes and Rasco Shoe. Furniture - A&S Furniture. Health & Beauty Aids - Val-U Discount.

Jewelers - Hilkin's Jewlers and Ruby & Sons. Men's Apparel - Country Gentlemen and Schapiro's Men's Shop. Men's & Boys' Apparel - Kline's Men's and Boys' Shop, Levinson's and United Men's and Boys' Wear.

Music - Matty's Music Centre. Paint & Wallpaper - Sherwin Williams Company. Records - Woody's Record Shop. Restaurant - Pantheon. Travel Service - Sochor's Travel.

Women's Apparel - Esther Immerman, Lee's, Modern Dress Shop. Shirley's, Surrey Ltd. and Tri-Phi Shops.

LISTEN: Historian Gerald Smith talked about the history of Washington Avenue on WNBF Radio on December 11, 2023.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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