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.

Springfield Public Library, Springfield Mass (2)

Springfield Public Library, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2014:

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Another view of the old library, which was built in 1871 and moved around 1910 in preparation for the construction of the new library, which sits on the same spot today.

Springfield Public Library, Springfield Mass (1)

The Springfield Public Library, around 1900-1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same scene in 2014:

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Springfield’s first public library opened in 1871, on State Street just up the hill from Chestnut Street.  However, it didn’t take long to outgrow the building, and in 1905 Andrew Carnegie donated money to Springfield to build a new main library and several branch libraries.  The library needed to stay open during connstruction, so the old building was moved back and the new building was built in its spot. It was dedicated on January 10, 1912, just 3 months before the Titanic sank and Fenway Park opened (these were two unrelated events; they simply occurred in the same month). I don’t know what became of the old library, but it obviously does not exist anymore.

Memorial Square, Springfield, Mass

Memorial Square and Memorial Congregational Church in Springfield, Mass., around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Built in 1869, the former Memorial Congregational Church has been home to St. George Greek Orthodox Church (now Cathedral) since 1940.  In the foreground is a monument to Massachusetts veterans from the Spanish-American War.  Neither the church nor the statue have changed much in appearance, although the quiet elm-lined streets have changed; Memorial Square is now the intersection of Routes 20 (left) and 116 (right), and the on-ramp for Interstate 91 is visible just beyond the church, on Route 20.

First Church of Northampton

The First Church of Northampton, between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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In 2014:

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Built in 1877, Northampton’s First Church hasn’t changed much, although its surroundings are different than they were a century ago.  Notice in particular the absence of trolley tracks or wires and the proliferation of cars.  Nearly three centuries and three church buildings ago, this was the home to one of America’s most prominent theologians, Jonathan Edwards, who was pastor of the Northampton church from 1727 to 1751, and who led the Great Awakening from his pulpit here.  The church building that he built in 1737 was replaced in 1812 by one designed by Isaac Damon, the same architect who designed Springfield’s Old First Church seven years later.  That building burned in 1876, and was replaced by the present structure the following year.

Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield

Taken between 1905 and 1915, this photo shows Christ Church Cathedral as it appeared a century ago. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view as of December 2012:

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Not much has changed in these two views; even the art building of the Springfield Museums is still there, and the building barely visible to the far left also appears to be the same in both photos. The one major difference, of course, is the tower of the church. Originally built in 1876 with a tower (although I have yet to find an image of the original tower), the tower cracked within a year and was taken down for safety reasons. It would not be rebuilt until 1927.