Quincy House, Boston

The Quincy House on Brattle Street in Boston, taken in 1860. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The scene in 2014:

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Located just as short distance from Scollay, Adams, Dock, and Faneuil Hall Squares, the Quincy House enjoyed a prominent location in downtown Boston.  The hotel was built around 1819, and was constructed of granite, only a few years before similar materials were used to build Quincy Market just a few block away.  In its heyday, it was one of the best hotels in Boston, and was also used by many different labor unions as a meeting place.

The 1860 photo, taken by photography pioneer Josiah Johnson Hawes, shows the hotel’s original appearance, before a renovation in the 1880s that added an additional three stories and a clock tower, as seen in this photo from the City of Boston Archives. However, by the 1920s the aging hotel suffered from increased competition, and closed in 1929. The building itself was demolished in 1935, less than 30 years before the entire neighborhood was taken down to build City Hall and the City Hall Plaza, as seen in the 2014 photo.

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.

The Northfield Hotel, Northfield Mass

The Northfield Hotel around 1904.  Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The site in 2014:

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Northfield Massachusetts was never a particularly prominent town for much of its history, but this changed after one of its residents, D.L. Moody, gained worldwide fame as a Christian evangelist.  In addition to work that he did in Chicago and overseas in England, Moody also had an impact on his hometown, opening the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in 1879.  This brought an increase in demand for services such as hotels, including The Northfield, which opened in 1887, just a short distance away from the Northfield Seminary.

Facing dwingling guests, the hotel closed in the 1970s and was demolished, although its well-landscaped grounds became home of the Northfield Golf Club.  A few reminders of the old hotel still exist, including the pond in the foreground, the stone wall, and the footbridge across the stream.

Cafe Martin, New York City

Cafe Martin, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 26th Street, New York City, around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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The building in the first photo was the site of the famed Delmonico’s restaurant from 1876 until 1899. Located directly across Madison Square from Madison Square Garden, it was one of several locations owned by the Delmonico family, and was considered one of the best fine dining restaurants in the country.  This building was sold in 1901, and became the Hotel Martin.  I don’t know what became of this business, but the building obviously no longer exists; based on the architecture of the current building, this was probably sometime by the 1920s.  However, most of the surrounding buildings in the 1908 photo still exist, including the building immediately to the left, which looks looks out of place in the first photo, but blends in well in the present-day photo, now that it is no longer three stories taller than its neighbors.

Mt. Tom Summit House, Holyoke, Mass. (2)

The view of the Mt. Tom Summit House between 1905 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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These photos were taken from around the location of the upper station of the trolley line; from here, visitors would walk up to the summit. Today, the Metacomet & Monadnock Trail traverses the summit and goes past the location where the photos were taken, on its way from the Connecticut state line to the summit of Mt. Monadnock in southern New Hampshire.

Mt. Tom Summit House, Holyoke, Mass. (1)

The view of the Mt. Tom Summit House around 1900-1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2014:

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In the late 1800s and early 1900s, mountain-top hotels were all the rage. Among other things, they offered spectacular views, along with cooler weather during the hot, humid New England summers in the days before air conditioning. There were three such hotels in the Mt. Tom vicinity alone, including this one at the summit of the highest point along the range. However, along with being very popular, their isolated location also made them vulnerable to fire. The building in this photo was the second built on the summit; the first, which opened in 1897, burned in 1900. This one would eventually burn as well, in 1929. A third one was built, but closed in 1938, a victim of the Great Depression as well as changes in demand.

Today, the foundation of the hotel is there, but it is filled with the antennas and related equipment, and is fenced-in and off limits to the public.  Hikers to the summit can still walk along the boardwalk, or at least what’s left of it. The part seen in the second photo has collapsed, and other parts of the boardwalk are in various stages of decay, but today it is the only obvious reminder of that was once at the summit.