Summit of Mt. Washington

The summit of Mt. Washington, around 1860. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

Mt. Washington

The summit in 2013:

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I don’t know if the two photos were taken from the same angle – it’s impossible to tell without any landmarks – but they clearly show how popular the northeast’s tallest mountain has become.  On the day that we went, there was literally a line of people waiting to ascend the pile of rocks that form the summit.  Some climbed to the top, while others took the Cog Railway or, like us, drove to he top.  If the 1860 date is correct, however, neither of these options were available to the individual standing on the top – the carriage road was not completed for another year, and the railway not until 1868.

Court Square, Springfield (5)

Court Square in Springfield, sometime in the 1860s or early 1870s. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The same scene in 2013:

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Court Square has been the center of activity in Springfield since its founding.  The first meeting house was built just to the left in the foreground, and all of the subsequent churches have been built on Court Square.  The square was established as a park in 1821, two years after Old First Church was built.

The building on the right-hand side of the photo is the old Hampden County Courthouse, which was built in 1821 and used as a courthouse until the 1874 courthouse was built just to the left of Old First Church. The 1874 structure is still in use as the juvenile and housing court, but the preesent-day courthouse is visible beyond and to the right of the church in the 2013 photo.  The old 1821 courthouse was later used as an Odd Fellows hall, and was demolished at some point in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The small building in between was the church’s chapel, which was replaced by the present-day brick structure in 1874.

Washington Monument, Washington DC

The Washington Monument, around 1860. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Brady-Handy Collection.

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The monument in 2012:

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Ever notice how the bottom third of the Washington Monument is a few shades lighter than the upper part?  The top photo shows why. Taken by noted Civil War photographer Mathew Brady, it shows the monument during the long stoppage in construction.  The construction started in 1848, and made it about 150 feet up by 1854, when work was halted, at first due to fundraising issues and later because of the Civil War.  Construction resumed in 1877, and was completed in 1884, at the height of 555 feet.  It was topped off with a 100-ounce aluminum apex.  At the time, aluminum was a precious metal, and it also served as a lightning rod.

Springfield High School, Springfield

Springfield’s old high school, located on State Street, sometime in the 1870s or 1880s. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The scene in 2012:

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Built in 1874, the building in the top photo was once Springfield’s high school building. It was used as the high school until 1898, when the older part (left-hand side) of Classical High School was completed.  After that, the building was used as a grammar school until 1922, when it was demolished to allow for the expansion of Classical High School.  It was used as a high school until 1986, and has since been converted into condominiums.

Church of the Unity, Springfield

The Church of the Unity in Springfield, sometime in the 1870’s or 1880’s. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The location of the church in 2012:

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The Church of the Unity was a building of architectural significance – it was the first commission of noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and was built between 1866 and 1869.  However, it was demoished in 1961 and replaced with a parking lot for the main branch of the Springfield Public Library.

Ellis Island, New York

Ellis Island, as it appeared around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2012:

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Opened in 1892, Ellis Island served as an immigration center until 1954, and during that time about 12 immigrants were processed there. The first building burned in a 1897 fire, and the present building was opened in 1900. The island itself was significantly expanded both before and after the 1905 photo, which was the subject of a border dispute between New York and New Jersey. The Supreme Court ruled that only the original part of the island is New York, and the artificial fill is New Jersey, meaning that the New York section is completely surrounded by New Jersey.