BRISTOL BITS: A walk down memory lane: Victoria Motel

Published on Thursday, 27 July 2017 20:29
Written by Bob Montgomery

My trivia question in Wednesday’s column about the former motel that was once near Bristol Plaza brought a number of correct responses. It was called the Victoria Motel.

I received a call from Jim Batista, the son of the owners. In fact, when he called Wednesday morning, he was visiting his mother here in Bristol. He said the motel had 17 units and was successful for a number of years.

He added that the motel was robbed twice, once when he was there as a 12-year-old.

Some of the famous people who had stayed there were Al Hirt, Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and the Kingston Trio.

Tom Dickau sent me the following on the topic, plus the postcard picture of it shown here.

“The motel you are referring to was the Victoria Motel and at other times called the Bristol Motel. It stood behind the Howard Johnson Restaurant, which was directly across from King Street on Farmington Avenue.”

Janice Palin also writes in:

“I grew up on Vance Road, which is behind the Bristol Plaza. Victoria Motel was located on the corner of Hefbern and Vance Roads and faced Rt. 6. It was owned in the ’60s by Antonio and Victoria Batista, immigrants from Portugal, who also lived on Vance Road in a new development with some of the houses being built by Antonio in 1955.

“I remember going as a 5-year-old with my sisters and my mom to one of the rooms and having a portrait done. Still hangs to this day in my parent’s bedroom.

Pat (Tomkil) Johnson also provided information for the email.”

Others who called or emailed me with the correct name were Roy Diyulio, Don Zurell, Jim Carros, Don Brochu, Charlene Berube, John Duquette, Robert J. Boutin, Paul DiNoia, Gerry Murphy, Lucretia Fortier and Sharom someone from Terryville.

I should have more information to share in the near future.

Vanity license plates

Tom Dickau spotted three license plates recently and shared them with me through an email. LION.AL was seen at the post office, SEESAW was seen on Farmington Avenue and PIE.CHIC was spotted on Queen Street. Would any of the owners of the vehicles with these plates on them care to share the story behind them to me?

Paul Reimer

I mentioned David Perry in Wednesday’s column, and after his visit here on Tuesday, I met him in the Bristol History Room of the Bristol Public Library to view Bristol Eastern yearbooks from our era. A short time later, who walks into the room but Paul Reimer, who graduated a year after me at the high school. Paul stopped in to work on family genealogy.

Paul, a standout athlete at Bristol Eastern, joined David and I in looking at and discussing some of the “kids” we knew back in the “dark ages.”

Paul, now a Florida resident, came up to Bristol to visit a couple of old friends, including high school basketball teammate Bob Lindsay. He and Bob planned on a trip to Yankee Stadium this week.

Rewind 2002 (15 years ago)

One of the familiar sites the past two years downtown on North Main Street is the covered mobile hot dog cart owned by Ken Meehan known as Ken’s Grille. He’s occupied the space ever since Brian and Margaret “Bunny” Skinner retired from doing the same after many years.

Ken took up the business after working in restaurants, bakeries and what have you. A graduate of the Culinary Institute, Ken developed baker’s asthma and it was either go on medications or walking away from the bakery business. His wife, AnnaMarie, suggested he open an outdoor grill and that was three years ago and Ken has been plugging away ever since, providing a delicious and popular menu.

Joan Yarde

A shout out to Joan Yarde, former Bristol resident now in California. I’m told she’s a faithful reader of this column. Thank you, Joan.

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808, or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Forestville, General News on Thursday, 27 July 2017 20:29. Updated: Thursday, 27 July 2017 20:31.