A look at Shrewsbury’s Hale Block Building through the years as it begins a new chapter

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

A look at Shrewsbury’s Hale Block Building through the years as it begins a new chapter
Hale Block historical photo
Photo/courtesy Shrewsbury Historical Society

Shrewsbury – The Town Center is anchored by the Town Common and adjacent First Congregational Church to the east but one can’t pass through the center without noticing the stately 10,000-square-foot two-story red brick building at 566-572 Main St., directly opposite the Civil War Monument.  

The Hale Block building was in the news this past spring when it was purchased by Femion Mezini of Arilia Holdings, LLC and David Weinstock of Weinstock Holdings LLC. 

It was most recently owned by Block Enterprises, Inc., headed by Pamela Cole from Shrewsbury, and had been in the Cole family for many years.

This purchase has renewed local residents’ interest in its history and the role it will play in the revitalization of the Town Center.

A look at Shrewsbury’s Hale Block Building through the years as it begins a new chapter
Hale Block present day on Main Street
Photo/Melanie Petrucci

When asked what they saw in the building that interested them, Weinstock replied, “For us the decision was easy — although we are not from the Shrewsbury area, we came to visit the property and immediately saw the potential of what it could be…the Hale block has all the bones of a great vibrant downtown building…”

Noted town historians shared what they know about the building that dates back to the 1920s.

According to “Images of America, Shrewsbury,” a historical depiction of Shrewsbury through photos and postcards written by life-long resident Michael Perna, Jr.; a Methodist Church once stood where the Hale Block Building is now but was torn down in 1922. 

“Charles Hale, who was first registered as a pharmacist in 1902 ran the store. He became, along with the store, a Shrewsbury fixture, arriving at work at 5:30 a.m. every day…Even in his mid-80s… Later, his son Albert followed him into the business and still later a grandson, Charles Hale,” Perna stated. 

Kristine Gustafson, vice-president of the Shrewsbury Historical Society, remarked, “In the 1960s businesses in the Hale Block provided Shrewsbury residents with a fun shopping experience.”

She added that Davidson Jewelers and a shoe repair shop where “the highly skilled cobbler could fix anything,” were also located in the Hale Block. 

“The pharmacy area itself was quite impressive. Charlie Hale, who lived nearby, was the pharmacist. The store was quite large and had marble tile floors and high tin ceilings. There was a wide range of medicine and pharmacy products, greeting cards, and other convenience items,” she reflected. “The last store in the block was the Village Gift Shop, which was famous for its penny candy and gifts. The owner, Marie, was always accompanied by her friendly pet dachshund!”

What does its future hold? Currently, Amici’s Trattoria and The Hairs Inn are located among the building’s many storefronts – some are empty. 

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