Holmes Gymnasium, Monson, Mass.

The Holmes Gymnasium, part of Monson Academy, taken between 1900 and 1902. Photo from Our County and Its People: A History of Hampden County, Massachusetts (1902).

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The building in 2006:

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The building in 2011, in the immediate aftermath of the June 1 tornado:

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Holmes Gymnasium was built as part of Monson Academy in 1900, on the hill overlooking downtown Monson.  Although the academy moved to Wilbraham in 1971 to merge with Wilbraham Academy, the building survived until 2011, when it had its entire upper floor sheared off by the June 1 tornado that devastated West Springfied, Springfield, Monson, Brimfield, and other Western Mass towns. The remains of the building were demolished the following year.

Springfield High School, Springfield

Springfield’s old high school, located on State Street, sometime in the 1870s or 1880s. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The scene in 2012:

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Built in 1874, the building in the top photo was once Springfield’s high school building. It was used as the high school until 1898, when the older part (left-hand side) of Classical High School was completed.  After that, the building was used as a grammar school until 1922, when it was demolished to allow for the expansion of Classical High School.  It was used as a high school until 1986, and has since been converted into condominiums.

Classical High School, Springfield

Classical High School in Springfield, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same building today:

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Originally built as Central High School in 1898, it became Classical High School in the 1930’s, and closed in 1986 when the present Central High School was built on Roosevelt Ave. It has since been converted into condominiums, and is remarkably well-preserved from its days as a school.  The building was built on the site of the former Hampden County Jail, which had been in this location from 1814 until 1887.

Visible on the far right of the 1905 photo is the old Springfield High School, which was built in 1874.  After the construction of this building, the old high school was used as State Street Grammar School until 1922, when Central/Classical High School was expanded to include a junior high school wing, which necessitated the demolition of the old structure.

Probably the school’s most famous alumnus was 1921 graduate Theodor Geisel, who was better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss.  In addition, on a personal note, my grandfather was a 1937 graduate from the school, shortly after it became Classical High.

Technical High School, Springfield

This photo, taken between 1905 and 1910, shows the then-new Technical High School, located on Elliot Street in Springfield. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Over a century later, here’s the same scene as it looks in 2012:

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The exterior of the building looks the same, but that’s the only thing these two buildings have in common.  The building served as a high school from 1905 until 1986, during which time it had several notable alumni, including Hall of Fame baseball player Rabbit Maranville.  Then, several years ago the building was demolished except for the facade, which was preserved for a new state data center, which is now nearing completion as of December 2012.

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.

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The same scene in 2012:

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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.