85-87 Elliot Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 85-87 Elliot Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of Springfield Preservation Trust.

Apartments

The building in 2014:

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This apartment building on Elliot Street, opposite Edwards Street, was built in 1907.  During this time, many of the single and two-family buildings that once lined many of the streets in the downtown area were being replaced by larger apartment buildings, as the downtown grew and demand for housing increased.  The building was built by Gagnier & Angers, two French Canadians who built many of the apartment buildings in this part of the city in the early 1900s.  Presumably, not much changed in the buildings exterior appearance between its construction and the first photo in the late 1930s, and not much changed in the ensuing 75 years.  All of the buildings from the 1930s photo are still there, including this apartment building, the wood duplex to the left, and the brick apartment building behind it.  Together, they make up part of the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District, part of the National Register of Historic Places.

51-55 State Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 51-55 State Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2014:

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I don’t know much about the apartment building in the first photo, except that it was built sometime between 1882 and 1899, and was demolished by 1958, when the present 55 State Street building was built.  It is directly across State Street from the Hampden County Hall of Justice, and it reflects the hideous architectural styles of the mid-20th century.  Sadly, this building will not be among those demolished to make way for the casino, although the buildings in the distance to the left will be.

Hotel Boylston, Boston

The Hotel Boylston, at the southeast corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets in Boston, sometime in the 1870s.  Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The scene today:

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Like the Hotel Pelham right across Tremont Street, the Hotel Boylston was built as a residential building, with the term “hotel” at the time referring to what we would today call an apartment building.  It was at a prominent location, at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets, at the southeast corner of Boston Common.  However, it was demolished in the 1890s and replaced with the Hotel Touraine building, which still stands today.

Hotel Pelham, Boston

Facing the southwest corner of Boylston and Tremont in Boston around 1859, toward the newly-constructed Hotel Pelham.  Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

1850s

The same scene 2014:

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Constructed in 1857, the Hotel Pelham was possibly the first apartment building of its type in the United States.  Although named a hotel, the term in the mid 19th century was commonly used to refer to what today we would call an apartment building – they catered more toward long-term residents than temporary visitors.

The date on the first photo is probably 1859, but some sources date it to 1869.  In either case, 1869 is the latest possible date for the photo, because in that year Tremont Street (the street that the photos are facing down) was widened.  Rather than demolishing and rebuilding, the owners moved the 5,000 ton building 14 feet to the west (right), a move that took three months to complete.  Following the move, the hotel remained in business for nearly 50 more years, before being demolished in 1916 and replaced with the present-day office building.