House of Providence Hospital, Holyoke, Mass

The House of Providence Hospital, at the corner of Elm and Dwight Streets in Holyoke, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2017:

The origins of the present-day Sisters of Providence Health System date back to 1873, when four women from the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in Kingston, Ontario arrived in the Holyoke area, in order to serve the needs of the largely Catholic, immigrant workforce in Holyoke. Originally, they were located across the river in South Hadley, but in 1874 the Sisters of Providence moved to Holyoke, and built a hospital here at the corner of Dwight and Elm Streets. This became the first public hospital in Holyoke, and served the needs of rapidly-growing city over the next few decades.

The Sisters of Providence remained a mission of the Kingston congregation until 1892, when it became an independent congregation, and two years later a new, larger House of Providence Hospital building was completed here on the site. The first photo shows the building about a decade later, with the Father Harkins’ Home for Aged Women just beyond it on the left. At the time, this area had a number of Catholic institutions, including the Immaculate Conception School, the Convent of Notre Dame, the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul, the St. Jerome Institute, and St. Jerome’s Church, all of which where located within a block of here.

More than a century after the first photo was taken, Holyoke has undergone some significant changes, and today there are no recognizable landmarks from the first photo. In 1958, the hospital moved to its current location in Ingleside, in the southern part of the city, and it is now the Providence Behavioral Health Hospital. The old building was subsequently demolished, and today the site is a vacant lot, although the old Immaculate Conception School – later home of Holyoke Catholic High School – is still standing in the distance on the left.

Boston and Maine Station, Boston

The Boston and Maine Railroad station at Haymarket Square in Boston, around 1894. Image courtesy of the City of Boston Archives.

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The Boston City Hospital Relief Station, on the site of the former railroad station in 1905. Image courtesy of the City of Boston Archives.

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The location in 2015:

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Of the eight major railroads that served Boston in the late 1800s, the Boston and Maine came the closest to the downtown area, with its depot at Haymarket Square. It was opened in 1845, and over the years Boston and Maine became the dominant railroad in northern New England, with many of its lines converging here.  However, because there were four different railroads that had their own stations within a few blocks of here, the companies built North Station in 1893, about 300 yards up Canal Street from here.

The old station had been built in the early years of railroad travel, and it stood until 1897, when it was demolished to make way for a new type of rail travel.  Boston’s Tremont Street Subway was the first subway tunnel in the country, and the northern entrance of the tunnel was built on the site of the station.  From here, the tracks ran along the surface between Canal and Haverhill Streets, where the station platforms used to be.  The only new building on the site was the Boston City Hospital Relief Station, as seen in the 1905 photo.  It was built in 1902 as a branch of the Boston City Hospital, in order to provide emergency services in the downtown area, and it stood until the early 1960s.

Today, there isn’t much left from either of the first two photos.  A few of the buildings on Canal Street are still standing, such as the one on the far left in both the 1891 and 1905 photos.  It is barely visible on the left of the 2015 photo, above the bus in the foreground.  Haymarket Square itself is completely changed, though, through a series of urban renewal projects in the 20th century.  To the left is a parking garage, with the Haymarket Square subway station underneath it.  On the right-hand side of the photo, the elevated Central Artery once passed through here.  Built in the 1950s, it cut a swath through downtown Boston until 2003, when the highway was rerouted through the Tip O’Neill Tunnel as part of the Big Dig.  The building under construction in the background is being built on land that the Central Artery once passed through.

Springfield Hospital, Springfield, Mass

Springfield Hospital, around 1905-1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The site in 2014, now the home of Baystate Medical Center:

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From its humble beginnings as Springfield Hospital in 1883, this location has grown into one of the largest hospitals in the state.  The first major expansion happened within 20-30 years of when the first photo was taken, when the building in the 2014 photo opened.  Since then, the hospital has significantly expanded the area behind this building, and the large, grassy area in front of the hospital is now a parking lot.

Mercy Hospital, Springfield, Mass

Mercy Hospital in Springfield, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Hospitals

The scene in 2014:

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Mercy Hospital has been at this location on Carew Street since 1898, and treated a number of soldiers returning home from the Spanish-American War.  However, the building on the left-hand side is older than that; it was built as the residence of Haitsill Hastings Allis, a businessman who owned a brick company in Springfield.  The building was sold to the Catholic Church in 1896, and the hospital began working out of the building two years later.  The addition on the right was opened a year later, significantly expanding the number of patients that the hospital could treat.

Today, all of the buildings in the first photo are gone.  The addition was demolished in 1974, and the Allis Mansion itself survived until 2013.  It had been vacant since 2001, and its restoration was unfeasible, so it was taken down to make way for the parking lot in the foreground of the 2014 photo.

Wesson Memorial Hospital, Springfield, Mass (2)

Another view of Wesson Memorial Hospital in Springfield, around 1900-1910, taken from Ingraham Terrace looking toward High Street. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The hospital in 2014:

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Another view of the Wesson Memorial Hospital, looking toward High Street from Ingraham Terrace.  The building’s exterior hasn’t changed much, except for small additions on the left and right hand sides, which I’m assuming are elevators.  The surrounding neighborhood has changed, though.  The landscaped yard on the right-hand side is now a parking lot, where I took the 2014 photo of the same building in this post.  As mentioned there, the hospital was established in 1900 by Daniel B. Wesson of Smith & Wesson fame, and today the building is part of Baystate Medical Center.

Wesson Memorial Hospital, Springfield, Mass (1)

The Wesson Memorial Hospital on High Street in Springfield, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The hospital in 2015:

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The Wesson Memorial Hospital was established in 1900 by Daniel B. Wesson, one of the co-founders of Smith & Wesson.  His home and factory weren’t too far away from here, and near the end of his life he began several charities, including this hospital.  The building hasn’t changed much, and even the fence along the sidewalk is still there.  It is still a hospital, although Wesson Memorial merged with the Medical Center of Western Massachusetts in 1976 to form Baystate Medical Center, one of the largest employers in Massachusetts.