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Central Avenue

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Central Avenue postcard

Central Ave 1906.jpgCentral Avenue 1906

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Always the main access route through Dover Village, Central Avenue has also always been a commercial district. By studying the variety of 19th century businesses that have occupied these stores, it is possible to observe the growth and sophistication of Dover.

The 1820's and '30s saw stores offering only basic supplies: food, fabrics, shoemakers. During the 1840's hatmakers were in vogue and exotic East and West India goods imported from Barbados were available. By the 1850's, varied types of groceries and confections were offered, as were "refreshment saloons". The 1860's were characterized by the addition of photographers, portrait artists, and hairdressers to the Dover scene as the city began to "gussy up". The 1870's saw the separation of clothing stores, now with "finished goods", into those stores for men and those for women. The 1880's moved professionals into downtown as dentists, doctors, lawyers, and insurance agents opened offices in the upstairs floors of the new "Blocks" built along the Avenue. By the 1890's, all the niceties of life had arrived; jewelers, upholsters and wallpaperers, stationers, and booksellers, pharmacies, clothes cleaners, musical instrument dealers, rug sellers, real estate agents, opticians, cigar and ice cream stores, and even architects had established businesses here. By 1900, the variety of goods and services offered was a s wide as those offered today.
    From the 1984 Heritage Walking Tour Booklet.

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