Old School: Mass Hardware

A few months back I posted about old-fashioned neighborhood hardware stores, and I neglected to mention one very important player: Mass Hardware, on High Street in Waltham (near the Newton line).

For a time, Mass Hardware was the biggest hardware store around, and people came from all over Newton and Waltham to shop. It took up three floors: Lumber in the basement, tools and miscellaneous supplies on the 1st floor, and light fixtures and related items on the top floor. And, of course, paintings of seashores and farmhouses in the stairwell.

It closed in the late 1990s, no doubt hammered by the same big-box competitive forces that closed the smaller hardware stores in West Newton and other neighborhoods. The building was converted to an office building for eToys, which folded along with a lot of other Internet companies in 2000 or 2001. Then a company called Brassring moved into the property, but it too closed down -- in 2004 I saw trucks carting away all of the office furniture and fixtures. Now the building is empty, with cracks in the parking lot. Sometimes customers of Green River liquors park there; otherwise it is deserted year round.

But you can still see a relic of its hardware past: A large sign "Mass Hardware" at the entrance to the rear lot about 50 feet past the building.


Blogger Kristine said...

Awww. I always get sad whenever I hear about neighborhood shops closing down due to big chain stores. I prefer neighborhood shops.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was actually toysmart.com, not etoys.com, that occupied that building. Toysmart was a buyout of Holt Educational, in the small industrial area near the Newton recycling depot. We used to shop there all the time. Disney was a big investor in Toysmart, but pulled the plug.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Chuck Tanowitz said...

Brassring didn't die (at least not when it moved out) but it moved into bigger offices near Prospect Hill.

I have seen cars there during the day, so I believe it's used as an office building by various companies. But it is sad.

When Mass Hardware closed I'd heard rumors that Trader Joes was considering the space, but they eventually opened on Washington Street. It would have been a good fit there, and walkable for me.

8:49 AM  

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