April 18, 2004
The gingerbread trim that marked Vonette's has disappeared, and the entire building is now nothing more than a memory as the wrecker's equipment is in action on a significant part of Derby's history along the south side of Main Street close to the Derby-Shelton Bridge. The revitalization of the downtown area has begun with the most painful part as once proud and thriving buildings give up the ghosts of past glory and forever disappear from the historic landscape of the Valley's oldest city.
The buildings which once housed such landmarks as Howard & Barber's and Vonette's had been declining dramatically for decades as their days as the center of retail commerce for the entire region came to an end. The buildings coming down are architecturally intriguing and full of memories for generations of Derby and Valley residents who shopped in the area. However, the buildings are also in a sad state of disrepair and pose a potential danger. Many date back to the 1800's. Click here for a map and listing of businesses dating back to 1868.
A view from the back!
November 1, 2003
Where the area was a retail center in previous year, plans call for this part of Main Street to have a new life as a residential area with a variety of apartments lining the new Main Street. You can view the preliminary proposals by clicking here. The new downtown area will also be ringed by a new Greenway designed to emphasize the recreational value of the two rivers which frame Derby's downtown which also serves as a main east-west artery for the state. It's always sad to see the passing of an entire era, but it's equally exciting to watch the beginning of an entirely new chapter in the history of Derby. We will keep the website updated with pictures showing the progress, and invite you to come back regularly to view them.