Emerson Wight Playground, Springfield, Mass, June 27, 1916 (2)

Another view of boys playing baseball at Emerson Wight Playground in Springfield, Mass. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

143_1916 loc

The park in 2014:

143_2014

As was the previous photo, this was taken by Lewis W. Hine during his documentation of child labor conditions for the National Child Labor Relations Committee. Between the two scenes, 98 years apart, remarkably little has changed, down to the houses on Acushnet Avenue in the background, and it is possible that the two large trees near the center of the 2014 photo are also in the 1916 one – there are several saplings along the fence, two of which are in the exact same locations as the present-day trees.

Emerson Wight Playground, Springfield, Mass (1)

The Emerson Wight Playground in Springfield, Mass, June 27, 1916. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

142_1916 loc

The park in 2014:

142_2014

It’s kind of eerie – in 98 years, almost nothing has changed about this scene. The baseball field is still in the same spot, along with all five of the houses in the distance, and (I believe) even a couple of the trees that are small saplings in front of the fence in the 1916 photo.  The only difference is the young boys, who are almost certainly all dead by now. The photo was taken by Lewis W. Hine as part of his documentation for the National Child Labor Relations Committee, and likely many, if not all, of these boys were working full time in a factory or other industry in Springfield.

Birthplace of Basketball, Springfield, Mass (2)

The interior of the gymnasium at the School For Christian Workers in Springfield, Mass, around 1887. Photo courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections.

141_1887c spfldcoll

The approximate area in 2014:

141_2014

These two photos don’t line up perfectly – I don’t know exactly what direction the 1887 photo was oriented, but the 2014 photo shows approximately what the scene now looks like.  Regardless, the 1887 photo is of significance, as it shows the gymnasium where, around four years later, the first basketball game was played. Originally developed as a way for athletes to stay in shape during the winter, it quickly became a popular sport around the world. And today, on the spot where 19th century athletes stayed in shape throughout the winter, modern Springfielders now go there to get Big Macs, year round.

Birthplace of Basketball, Springfield, Mass (1)

The School for Christian Workers Building, located at the corner of State Street and Sherman Street in Springfield, Mass, in 1886. Photo courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections.

140_1886c spfldcoll

The scene in 2014:

140_2014

Built in 1886 as the home of the School for Christian Workers, it also became home to the YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) in 1890.  Although both organizations moved out by 1897, it was during this time period that James Naismith invented the game of basketball in the building’s gymnasium. The building was later expanded to the east (right-hand side of the photo), and was demolished in 1965. However, it was not demolished to build the McDonald’s in the present-day photo; the site was used was a parking lot for about 30 years before McDonald’s was built in 1995.

SS Dorothy Bradford, Boston, Mass

The steamer Dorothy Bradford leaving Boston, with the Custom House Tower in the background, in the late 1920s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

139_1920s bpl

The scene in 2013:

139_2013

The SS Dorothy Bradford was built in 1889 for the Cape Cod Steamship Company, and brought passengers to and from Provincetown on Cape Cod.  The company shut down in 1937, and the Dorothy Bradford was sold for scrap.

The Boston Public Library estimates the date of this photo as 1930, but it had to have been earlier than that, because the steamer behind the Dorothy Bradford, the SS Mary Chilton, burned in a fire along with almost the entire rest of its company’s fleet in a fire in November 1929.

SS Nantasket and Custom House Tower, Boston

Boston’s Custom House Tower as seen from the waterfront, with the steamer Nantasket in the foreground, probably in the late 1920s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

138_1920s bpl

The scene in 2013:

138_2013

Boston’s skyline has changed substantially, but the Custom House Tower remains much the same as it appeared when it was completed in 1915.  It was the tallest building in Boston until the Prudential Tower was built in 1964, and to this day, remains the 17th tallest in the city.  Although no longer used as a custom house, it is now a Marriott hotel.

The Boston Public Library dates this photo to around 1934, but it had to have been earlier than that, because the Nantasket burned in a fire in November, 1929, along with almost the entire rest of the company’s fleet.