United First Parish Church, Quincy

The United First Parish Church of Quincy, as seen in 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same scene, in March of 2013:

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This church in Quincy was built in 1828, financed largely though former president John Adams. He and his wife, along with John Quincy Adams and his wife, are interred in the family crypt under the church – it is one of only two churches in the US that contains a presidential tomb. As seen in the two photos, not much has changed in the past 109 years with the building itself.

New Old South Church, Boston

New Old South Church at Copley Square, between 1890 and 1899. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2010:

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For the most part, this view hasn’t changed.  The Boston Public Library on the left is still there, as is the brick building behind the church.  The only real difference is the tower, which had to be taken down in 1931.  Like the rest of the Back Bay, the church sits on filled-in marshland, so the weight was supported by wooden piles that were driven into the soil.  However, the tower was too heavy for the piles, and as the ground settled it began to lean about three feet.  It was rebuilt in 1940 on stronger steel piles, and the new tower has stood substantially longer than the original one did.

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston

The view of the Original Mother Church of the Christian Science Church, as seen in 1900. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2010:

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Shortly after the 1900 photo was taken, starting in 1904, the much larger, domed Mother Church Extension was built directly behind the original stone church from 1894.  Together, along with several other buildings in the campus, it forms the headquarters of the Christian Science Church.

Old North Church, Boston

The view of Old North Church, looking down Hull Street, sometime in the 1890s. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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About decade later, around 1909. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Old North Church in 2011:

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From 1909 to 2011, not a whole lot has changed here – aside from the addition of parked cars in the 2011 photo, the only differences for the most part are minor cosmetic changes.  However, from 1898 to 1909, the scene looks very different – most of Hull Street was still dominated by small wood-framed buildings, some of which dated back to the mid 18th century.  The closest wood building on the right-hand side of the street is the Galloupe House, which purportedly was used as General Thomas Gage’s headquarters during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

The centerpiece of all three of the photos, however, is Old North Church, which looks almost unchanged.  In fact, though, the entire spire above the brick section is fairly new.  Although the church was built in 1723, making it the oldest church building in Boston, the spire was destroyed in a storm in 1804.  It was replaced with the one seen in the 1909 photo, which was destroyed by Hurricane Carol in 1954.  Despite that, the church still looks very much as it did on the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five.

King’s Chapel, Boston

King’s Chapel in Boston, as seen between 1900 and 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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King’s Chapel in March 2013:

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Not much about the church itself has changed, although most of its surroundings have.  The King’s Chapel Burying Ground is still to the left, and the top of the old Boston City Hall is visible just above the roof of the church.  The church was built on the site of a previous, wooden church, which had been built in 1688.  When King’s Chapel was built in the early 1750s, it was literally built around it, and when it was completed, the 1688 church was dismantled and removed through the windows.

Park Street Church, Boston

The view of Park Street church, taken in about 1904, looking up Tremont Street with Boston Common on the left. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Street Scenes

A few years later, probably around 1909-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene around 1923. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Tremont Street in 2014:

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Built in 1810, Park Street Church was the tallest building in the United States from its construction until 1846.  Although it’s not as prominent in the skyline as it was when the earlier photos were taken, it still stands out when walking along Tremont Street and the Boston Common.  The church is still in active use, having had a number of notable pastors, including noted abolitionist Edward Beecher, the brother of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe.

One less obvious landmark in both photos is the Park Street subway station.  Opened in 1897, it was, along with the nearby Boylston Street station, the first subway station in the world, and was still fairly new when the first photo was taken.  The entrances and exits are the same in both photos, and the station remains a busy MBTA station on the Green Line and Red Line.

On the other side of Tremont Street, many of the buildings from the earlier photos are still around today.  The most obvious is the R.H. Stearns Building, the tall building on the far right of the 2014 photo.  The building was home to the R.H. Stearns department store from 1908 until 1977, when it closed, but the building itself is still there.  In the first photo, the department store was in a different building, with the two towers and the large flag.  This building was demolished to make way for the present building in 1908.