Faneuil Hall, Boston

Faneuil Hall in Boston, as it appeared between 1890 and 1899. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

021_1890-1899-loc

The building in 2011:

021_2011

The building was completed in 1742 as a meeting hall and marketplace, and was largely reconstructed following a fire in 1762 that gutted the building.  It is well known as having been a place where patriots such as Samuel Adams and James Otis gave speeches concerning independence in the years leading up to the American Revolution.

Times Square Building, New York

The Times Square Building, as it appeared in 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

017_1908c-2Bloc

The same view in October, 2010:

017_2010

When the building was first built, it was the headquarters for the New York Times, hence the name Times Square. Prior to then, it was known as Longacre Square. The Times only kept their headquarters there until 1913 though, and used the building as a branch office until they sold it in 1961. In 1963, Allied Chemical bought the building and extensively modified its exterior. They sold it in 1996, at which point it was decided it would not be economically feasible to upgrade the interior, since the narrow building had such small floors. So, instead of renting the interior, the owners decided to rent the exterior, by adding 26 billboards that cover almost the entire building and bring in more money than renting the office space inside would.

Today, the building, which was once the second tallest in the city, and once towered over Times Square, is now dwarfed by taller buildings on virtually every side, including the 47-story Times Square Tower directly behind it, and the Condé Nast Building, visible on the left-hand side of the picture. However, it retains its place as a central part of Times Square, even if it is literally just a shell of its former self.

Court Square, Springfield (4)

Taken from the same spot as the previous photo, this 1909 photo shows the old Hampden County Courthouse, the Springfield Institute for Savings building, located where the present courthouse is today. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Panoramic Photographs Collection.

008_1909-2Bloc

Compare it with this 2012 photo, taken from approximately the same location:

008_2012

The old 1874 courthouse (now the juvenile and housing court) survives largely intact, although the third floor with its Gothic dormers has since been removed, and the Hall of Records in the center of the 1909 photo has been demolished.  The Springfield Institute for Savings building, on the right-hand side of the photo, has also been demolished, and Elm Street has been truncated, in order to build the modern Hampden County Hall of Justice.  One other interesting addition is the statue in the 2012 photo; it is a statue honoring William McKinley, and at the time of the 1909 photo it was residing in Forest Park across the city.  I do not know when it was moved to its present location.

Court Square, Springfield (2)

Shown below is a 1909 photo of Court Square looking east, taken at the same time as the photo in my previous post. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Panoramic Photographs Collection.

006_1909-2Bloc

Fast-forwarding 103 years to 2012, the scene has changed dramatically.

006_2012

Unlike in the photo of the south and west ends of Court Square, these photos of the west (and a little bit of the north) sides of Court Square have almost nothing in common.  The old Chicopee Bank building, seen in the 2012 photo on the far right, is barely visible behind the tree on the right-hand side of the 1909 photo, and the Miles Morgan and Civil War monuments in Court Square are still there.  But other than that, everything else has changed, with the most notable difference being the MassMutual Center. Built in 1972 as the Civic Center, it replaced several city blocks, including the buildings in the center of the 1909 photo, although some of those were long gone before 1972.  Among the buildings seen in the 1909 view is the old Springfield Republican building, which is the tall building just to the left of center along Main Street.

Court Square, Springfield (1)

Here’s an interesting photo of Court Square, taken in 1909. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Panoramic Photographs Collection.

005_1909-2Bloc

From the same angle, taken in 2012:

005_2012

Notice the difference? Because there isn’t a whole lot that has changed along the south and west sides of Court Square in the past century.  In fact, other than cosmetic changes to some of the fountains and such in Court Square, the only real difference is the added wing of the old Hampden County Courthouse, which is visible in the 2012 photo just behind and to the left of the church.  In the 1909 photo, if you look close, you can see the construction for the wing, but at this point when the photo had been taken, it had not yet been completed.

The prominent building in the center of both photos is the former Court Square Hotel.  Built in 1892, it was added on to in 1900, with the sixth floor being added, along with the right-hand part of the building (the front facade used to be symmetrical until the addition).  Just to the left of it is a small brick building, barely visible behind the gazebo in the 2012 photo.  This building, known as Byers Block, was built in 1835 and is the only surviving one of a number of identical buildings that used to run along Elm Street in the mid 19th century.  The oldest building in both photos, however, is Old First Church.  Built in 1819, it was nearly 100 when the old photo was taken, and externally still looks essentially the same today.

Corner of State & Maple, Springfield

The view from Chestnut Street looking across State Street toward the corner of Maple Street, around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

002_1908c-2B-2-2Bloc

The same scene in 2012:

002_2012

The first photo shows several important Springfield buildings. Starting in the distant left is the old Central High School, which later became Classical High School. To the right of it is the old Springfield High School, then the Church of the Unity, and finally, the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company building. This building, completed just a few years earlier in 1905, was designed by the prominent architectural firm of Peabody & Stearns, and is an excellent example of classical revival architecture in Springfield.

Today, Classical High School is still standing, with a new wing that was added in 1922 after the old high school building next to it was demolished. The school itself closed in 1986, and the building was converted into condominiums. The Church of the Unity was demolished in 1961 to make room for an apartment complex that was ultimately never built, and today it is a parking lot opposite the Springfield City Library. The only building that has remained unchanged from the first photo is the Springfield Fire and Marine Insurance Company building. For many years it was used as offices for the Springfield School Department, but it is currently vacant. Because of its historical and architectural significance, though, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.