Small businesses including an upscale coffee shop have recently opened on Main Street, intermingling with crumbling buildings. Photo by Cassandra Basler for WSHU

Two grand hotels on historic Main Street of Willimantic, Connecticut, hosted movers and shakers from New York and Boston during the golden age of train travel. The hotels fell into disrepair when travelers took to the highways. Cheap rooms, cheap heroin and social services drew addicts, sex workers and the unemployed. A plan to demolish the buildings may force the town to reconcile its grand history and troubled past.

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