Maple Street Homes, Springfield Mass

Several homes on Maple Street in Springfield, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2014:

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Around the turn of the last century, Maple Street was one of the best places in Springfield to live. This side of the street was particularly desirable, because of the view looking toward downtown Springfield and across the Connecticut River. Today, that isn’t the case. Although the view is still there, it is no longer one of the city’s premier residential areas, and the two mansions in the first photo no longer exist.

Located directly across the street from the former MacDuffie School campus, this area was right in the path of the June 1, 2011 tornado that tore across western Massachusetts. These houses, however, were gone long before then.  The one on the right was at the time the home of businessman and city library president Nathan D. Bill, and was built in the 1880s as the Andrew Fennessy House. It was destroyed in a suspicious fire in 1969, after having been vacant for several years. Today, only the concrete driveway is still there, and can be seen better on Google Maps. The house just beyond it was built in 1882 and belonged to Walter H. Wesson, the son of Daniel Wesson, co-founder of Smith & Wesson. In 1982, this historic house was also heavily damaged in a fire, and was subsequently demolished.

Church of the Unity, Springfield Mass

The Church of the Unity, photographed in 1959. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey collection.

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The same view in 2014:

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The Church of the Unity is also featured in this post, although the photo in that one is close to 100 years older than this “before” one is.  As mentioned there, this church was significant as the first commission of architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and was built between 1866 and 1869.  However, it was demolished only two years after this photo was taken, and was replaced with a parking lot for the Springfield Public Library.

Game Day in Springfield, Mass

A banner in downtown Springfield advertising the Brown-Dartmouth football game at Hampden Park on November 25, 1905.  Photo from Springfield: Present and Prospective, published in 1905.

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The same view in 2014:

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In terms of sports, Springfield may be best known as the birthplace of basketball, but it was also once the site of several significant college football games.  Hampden Park, located near the North End Bridge, was once used for Ivy League games such as Harvard-Yale and, as is the case here, Brown-Dartmouth.  The history of Hampden Park is discussed further in this post, and the game pictured in the first photo on that post is likely the game referenced here on this banner, which Dartmouth ultimately won 24-6.

Not much else has stayed the same in this scene; all of the buildings are gone, although parts of the Massassoit House (far left) were incorporated into the Paramount Theatre.  However, the 1890 railroad bridge still exists, although the road grade has had to be lowered to accommodate larger vehicles.  I have re-created a few other photos of this general area, which can be seen here and here.

State Street, Springfield Mass

The view looking east on State Street from the sidewalk along the Armory grounds, sometime in the late 1800s. Photo from Springfield: Present and Prospective, published in 1905.

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The scene in 2014:

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The buildings in these photos are the same as the ones in the previous post; the only difference is that they are seen from the opposite direction.  Although these two photos were taken well over 100 years apart, many of the buildings are still there, including the Gunn Block and the two adjacent buildings in the background, which date to the 1830s, and the three buildings in the center of the photo, which likely date to around the time of the Civil War.  Even one of the businesses from the first photo almost made it to the present-day; the sign for William Kavanagh is barely visible on the sign above the awning on the building to the far right.  Today, the building is gone, having long-since been replaced by a newer Kavanagh building, with a newer sign.  However, Kavanagh Furniture closed in 2008, although it was probably the longest-lasting of all of the businesses from the first photo.

State Street from Walnut Street, Springfield Mass

State Street looking west from Walnut Street, around 1895. Photo courtesy of James Ward Birchall Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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As with the photos in this post, the historic Gunn Block (far left) is visible, along with the other two adjacent buildings, which also date back to the 1830s, making them among the oldest commercial buildings in Springfield; only Byers Block at Court Square and the Guenther & Handel’s Block on Stockbridge Street are of similar ages.  Further down State Street is another historic block of buildings; I couldn’t find specifics on these buildings, but based on the architecture they likely date to around the 1860s.

Corner of State and Walnut, Springfield Mass

The corner of State Street and Walnut Street, looking east, sometime around 1892. Photo from Picturesque Hampden (1892).

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The scene in 2014:

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The building on the left in the first photo is the Rockingham House, which is discussed in this post.  To the right is the Gunn Block, which was built in 1836 and has served a variety of purposes over the years, originally as a store selling “West Indies Goods” but later as a meeting place, offices, a bar, and apartments.  Today it is vacant, but it currently being restored and redeveloped by the organization Develop Springfield.