Great Boston Fire (7)

A view of Trinity Church on Summer Street in Boston, taken in 1860. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

295_1860-2Bbpl

A photo from a similar angle, taken in the aftermath of the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

295_1872-2Bbpl

The scene in 2014:

295_2014

Taken from almost the same location as the photos in this post, and from the opposite direction of the ones here, these photos illustrate not only the damage after the Great Boston Fire, but also what the scene looked like before the fire.  As mentioned previously, the church was built in 1829, where Boston’s Downtown Crossing shopping district is located today.  The area was heavily damaged in the fire, and the church’s congregation relocated to the present-day Trinity Church at Copley Square later in the 1870s.  Today, nothing remains from the first two photos, and even the historic former Filene’s building in the center of the photo is a shell of its former self – literally.  The interior of the building was completely demolished, leaving only the facade as seen in the photo.  As evidenced by the construction work in the photo, the renovation work is ongoing as of July 2014.

Great Boston Fire (6)

Looking up Summer Street toward Washington Street, following the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

294_1872-2Bbpl

The location in 2014:

294_2014

Taken near the location of the photos in this post, but facing the opposite direction, the 1872 photo shows some of the damage to the present-day Downtown Crossing area, which is actually mild compared to the damage along other sections of Summer Street.  On the right is the Trinity Church, which was probably the oldest building in the first photo, having been built in 1829.  Following the fire, the area was rebuilt, and by the end of the 19th century became a major shopping center.  It is still that way today, with many department stores and other retailers along Summer Street and Washington Street.  The entire area is closed off to most vehicular travel, making the narrow Boston roads more pedestrian-friendly.

Great Boston Fire (5)

The church after the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Photo Courtesy of Boston Public Library.

293_1872-2Bbpl

The same location in 2014:

293_2014

Boston’s old Trinity Church on Summer Street was built in 1829, and stood until it was gutted in the Great Fire of 1872.  Following the fire, the church members had largely relocated out of the burned area and to new developments in the Back Bay, so the church went with them.  The relatively modest granite church building was replaced by the present-day Trinity Church at Copley Square, perhaps the best-known work of noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson.  Today, this location is at the heart of the Downtown Crossing shopping district, and as of July 2014 the building to the left was undergoing renovations, hence the fencing in the foreground.

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.

216_1959-loc

The same view in 2014:

216_2014

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.

218_1900-1910-loc.tif

The same view in 2014:

218_2014

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.

217_1900-1905-loc

The same scene in 2014:

217_2014

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 construction, so the old building was moved back and the new building was built in its spot. It was dedicated on January 10, 1912, and the old library building was subsequently demolished.