In this issue, rather than traveling from corner to corner, we will attempt to seek out the in-between taxis of today and of yesterday.
Well let us begin our journey by hailing a ride from the newest company of these days. A&K Lighthouse Taxi. Andy & Kathleen Pastagal’s clean and well-maintained cabs. The meter is on; the windshield is clean and clear, so let us begin. The year is 1953. Instead of coming home from the state in a state officer's car, we arrive in a Lighthouse Taxi. On crossing the railroad tracks we pass Gove’s Gulf Station, which was next to Reilly Pontiac & Cadillac. Our new home is going to be above the Stewart Family at 124 Washington St. The first taxi we come too belongs to Dora Nickerson. It is a 1947 Plymouth four door sedan. Dora waves to us as we continue our journey.
Across from the Harbor Café and in back of Dave Spittle’s Coffee Shop is the Gloucester Depot. Backed into the walkway are at least eight checker or Chevy cabs. Their trunks and doors open, awaiting the passengers that are about to embark off the train. Sadly I can also recall the other end of the Depot, where the steel wheeled wagons would also await the brave soldiers bodies killed in action, each casket covered with the flag of their country that they died for. I can also recall Mayor Beatrice Corliss meeting the family members.
Upon continuing our journey and with the meter clicking we go to the West end of Main Street. There is our next taxi company, owned and operated by the Morando Family. These two were Chevy and Checker cabs. Joe always demanded clean cabs and honest drivers. He also maintained each vehicle to the best degree of standards.
Traveling around to Rogers Street and at its end was Thurston’s Motors and Taxi, across from The Anchor Café. On the easterly part of Main Street there was Turk Souza’s Taxi, whose office sat in the basement next to Horatio's. On top of Union Hill was Brown’s Livery and Taxi. And at one time at the bottom of Mount Vernon St. was Central Taxi, and another was Hubby Mitchell’s Taxi. Our last one was Rosie’s Taxi, owned and operated by Clarence Rose, which later became Madruga’s Taxi and Livery and later Sunrise Transportation. I remember when it was Rosie’s mostly because you had to climb a number of steps to get into the office. In later years Clarence became more interested in junking. Across from Rosie’s Taxi was Captain Bills Seafood, which moved to the lower west end, a couple doors down from Fat Walla’s and just about where the Blackburn Tavern is located, and on that corner in a little shop was Randazza Brothers Shoe Shine Stand.
Well returning back to our taxi because the meter is clicking away we are at the end of our journey. However, I did forget to mention Yankee Taxi owned and operated by Matt Amaral. There are many more Taxiss of Cape Ann Past such as Horton’s Taxi of Rockport or Pete’s Taxi of Ipswich, most have one thing in common, or at least in the past, they were well maintained, clean, and the drivers were kind and receptive to their passengers. In closing I am not going to recommend on what Taxi to take, let your eye be the first judge, then let your mind be the second. Gloucester now has one new Taxi, and one not so new. One company I have to mention is Atlantic Taxi. Then it was owned by the Lane Family who tried to keep up with the traditions of a well grounded service , and they should be honored for doing so, just as Mr. Lagallo in true wisdom should follow that tradition. They are managed by hard working individuals. It is my belief that these taxis should be inspected at least quarterly and by the looks of some of our public transportation I begin to question on just who is responsible for seeing that the safety of each passenger is taken into full consideration.
That’s it for now; our journey is at its end. The driver was both kind and receptive. Our cab was clean and its yellow hue certainly captures a vision of our taxis and their historic past. These writings are in honor of Clarence Rose, Hubby Michell, Ralph Brown, Joe Morando, Dora Nickerson , Olie Anderson , The Hildonons, The Thurstons and all past owners and drivers.