Old Cathedral High School, Springfield, Mass

The old Cathedral High School building on Elliot Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The building in 2014:

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Not much has changed in the exterior of the old Cathedral High School building on Elliot Street.  It was built in 1919 to meet the needs of a growing school population, and was used as a high school for 40 years until the opening of the Surrey Road campus in 1959, which was the home of the school until the June 1, 2011 tornado, which caused significant damage to the building.  In the meantime, the old Elliot Street building is still owned by the Springfield Diocese, and with the demolition of the “new” Cathedral High School this fall, the 95 year old building has now outlived its successor.

When this building was used as a high school, a number of notable people attended school here, including three future NFL players: Joe Scibelli, 1943 Heisman Trophy winner Angelo Bertelli, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti.  Given the approximate date of the first photo, Bertelli was likely attending the school at the time – perhaps he was even sitting in one of the classrooms when the photographer took the picture.  In addition, former Postmaster General and NBA Commissioner Larry O’Brien also went here, graduating several years before the first photo was taken.

The Post Master and His Corps, Springfield, Mass

A group of postal employees on the front steps of Springfield’s Central High School (later Classical High School) around 1910. Photo from View Book of Springfield (1910).

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The building in 2014:

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All that I know about the first photo is that it was taken on the front steps of the former high school, which can be seen in this post, and that it was titled “The Post Master and His Corps” in the View Book of Springfield.  I’m assuming that means that all of these men are Springfield’s postal employees from a century ago, but the location of the photo puzzles me.  It would seem to make more sense to have a group photo of postal workers at, say, the Post Office, but in any case the front entrance where they did pose is still there, mostly unchanged, although the building itself is no longer a school.  The school closed in 1986, and today it is a condominium building.

D.L. Moody Residence, Northfield Mass

The former residence of D.L. Moody, on the grounds of Northfield Seminary around 1904.  Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The house in 2014:

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D.L. Moody was an influential Christian evangelist throughout much of the late 19th century.  He was born in Northfield, Massachusetts in 1837, in a house just up the hill behind this building.  He later lived in Boston and Chicago, in addition to traveling around the country and to Europe as part of his evangelistic tours.  He returned to Northfield in 1875, and in 1879 he opened the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies, which later became the Northfield campus of Northfield Mount Hermon School.  This house, which he lived in after his return to Northfield, is part of the campus, which has been vacant since 2006, when the school consolidated to just the Mount Hermon campus in nearby Gill.

Old Northampton High School, Northampton Mass

The old Northampton High School building, at the corner of Main and New South Streets, between 1900 and 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The building in 2014:

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This building served as Northampton’s high school from 1895 until 1940, and while it looks the same in both photos, it was gutted in a 1914 fire, leaving only the exterior walls.  The interior was rebuilt, and today it is the D.A. Sullivan School.

Monson Academy, Monson, Mass.

The old Monson Academy building, prior to the 1880s. Photo from Our County and Its People: A History of Hampden County, Massachusetts (1902).

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The second Monson Academy building, probably around 1900. Photo from Our County and Its People: A History of Hampden County, Massachusetts (1902).

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The same site in 2010:

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And one year later, following the June 1, 2011 tornado:

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Monson Academy was founded in 1804, when the building in the first photo was built. It served as the main building until 1886, when it was destroyed in a fire. It was replaced by the building in the second photo, which also burned, in 1953. Finally, in 1961, the building in the last two photos, Harper Gumnasium, was built on the site. Barely visible to the right of the Harper Gymnasium is the much-older Holmes Gymnasium, which was built in 1900. Both buildings were destroyed by the June 1, 2011 tornado, and were demolished the following year.

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.