Formerly, in the past, as in Time was, the city streets were perfectly safe at night. [Mid-1500s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Examples from the Web for time was
The child's foot treading lightly over the graves is the type of the time-is triumphing over the time-was.