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.

First Parish Church, Lexington, Mass

First Parish Church in Lexington, Mass., between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same church in 2013:

 

Although many buildings in Lexington predate the historic battle in 1775, the First Parish Church building isn’t one of them. This particular church was built in 1847, replacing the 1793 one that burned in the midst of a renovation. Since then, not much has changed from this viewpoint, as evidenced by the two photos taken over a century apart.

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.

Quincy

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.

 

Old North Church in 2018:

 

From 1909 to 2018, 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.