Saint Thomas Cemetery, Southington, Connecticut (2)

Another photo of the All Souls’ Day Catholic Mass at the Saint Thomas Cemetery in Southington, in May 1942. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA-OWI Collection.

656_1942-05 loc

The cemetery in 2015:

656_2015
Like in the previous post, this is a rather eerie contrast.  By now, nearly all of the people from the first photo have since died, and many of them are probably buried in the same cemetery that they once attended Mass in some 73 years ago.  The cross on the right side of both photos is the main focal point of the cemetery, and the headstones in the western half of the cemetery are arranged in circles radiating outward from the central cross.  It was from here that Reverend Francis J. Mihalek can be seen officiating the Mass in the 1942 photo, as explained in photographer Charles Fenno Jacobs’s caption, which reads: “Southington, Connecticut, an American town and its way of life. On All Soul’s Day the Catholic congregation is gathering in the Saint Thomas cemetery for an outdoor Mass which in 1942 was officiated by the Reverend Francis J. Mihalek.”

Saint Thomas Cemetery, Southington, Connecticut (1)

The All Souls’ Day Catholic Mass at the Saint Thomas Cemetery in Southington, in May 1942. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA-OWI Collection.

655_1942-05 loc

The cemetery in 2015:

655_2015
Many of Charles Fenno Jacobs’s Southington photos were taken here in Saint Thomas Cemetery, probably with the intent of promoting goodwill toward Americans from European Catholics.  His original caption reads: “Southington, Connecticut. On All Soul’s Day the Catholic congregation is gathering in the Saint Thomas cemetery for an outdoor Mass which in 1942 was officiated by the Reverend Francis J. Mihalek.”  Today, as is the case with most then and now photos of cemeteries, not much has changed, except for the addition of a few more names on the headstone in the foreground.

Venezian Monumental Works, Springfield Mass

The Venezian Monumental Works building on State Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

485_1938-1939 spt

The building in 2015:

485_2015

This building is located right next to the architecturally similar building at 1579 State Street, which was probably photographed on the same day as this one.  However, while the former Frank’s Service building has long been shuttered, the Venezian Monumental Works is still in business.  The company is actually substantially older than even the first photo; it was established in 1882, when the Pine Point neighborhood was on the remote outskirts of the city.  Since then, the neighborhood has grown, which has presumably increased demand for headstones, and it also doesn’t hurt that they are located right next to St. Michael’s Cemetery.  Today, the building has doubled in size, but the original section is still visible on the left side.

Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, Mass

A scene in Springfield Cemetery, around 1900-1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

376_1900-1906-2Bloc

The same scene in 2015:

376_2015

As mentioned in previous posts here and here, Springfield Cemetery was designed as a peaceful, beautifully-landscaped scene in the middle of the city along the same lines as Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.  Today, the scene is more grown-in, and obviously there are more gravestones in the scene, but otherwise the landscaping remains very much the same as it was over 100 years ago.

Many of Springfield’s notable residents of the past are buried here, from Congressmen like Chester Chapin, William Calhoun, and Samuel Knox, to businessmen, including Milton Bradley and Horace Smith (of Smith and Wesson), and even one of the victims of the Titanic sinking, Milton Long.  The headstone of another notable burial can be seen in the first photo – the large stone at the top of the hill above the footbridge is that of Chester Harding, a portrait painter from the first half of the 19th century.  Some of his portraits included presidents James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, Chief Justice John Marshall, Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll, and senators Henry Clay and John Calhoun.  His grave is still there, although today it isn’t visible from this angle because of the tree growth.  It was thanks to his headstone, though, that I was able to confirm the location of the photo, since there aren’t any other clear landmarks visible in both photos.

Soldiers’ Plot, Springfield, Mass

The Soldiers’ Plot in Springfield Cemetery, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

375_1900-1910-2Bloc

The scene in 2015:

375_2015

Springfield Cemetery was established in the 1840s as a beautifully-landscaped city cemetery in the middle of the city.  Within a few decades, it would become the final resting place for a number of men from Springfield who were killed in the Civil War.  A total of 167 were killed or missing in the war, with more lost to disease than to combat deaths.  Many of those men are buried here in the Soldiers’ Plot, not far from the entrance to the cemetery.  The plot includes the headstones at the bottom and top of the slope, with a statue at the top.  The statue was dedicated in 1877 using funds from the Soldier’s Rest Association.  The organization had been established during the war to care for returning veterans, and they used leftover funds to commission the statue.

Today, the headstones and statue are still there, although they are no longer decorated with flags and wreaths, and the landscaping isn’t as perfectly manicured as it was a century ago – the headstones on the lower section seem to almost blend in with the slope.  Of course, in the first photo the Civil War was still in the memory of many people, with many still alive who had either served in or lost loved ones in the war, so it is understandable that the plot would have been better cared for back then.

Cemetery Avenue, Springfield, Mass

The road to Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, Mass, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

374_1905c-2Bloc

The road in 2014:

374_2014

Both views here show the road leading to Springfield Cemetery from Maple Street, with the first photo showing the arch from this post.  This main entrance to the cemetery was designed by Reverend William B. O. Peabody in 1845, and today this road is still the way in and out of the cemetery, but there are some dramatic differences.  The arch is gone, as are the white picket fences, replaced with chain-link fences, and the narrow, rutted dirt road is now paved with asphalt.  Today, there are small trees along either side of the road, but they pale in comparison to the ones that once formed a canopy of branches over the road; they were probably the same trees that Peabody himself had planted some 60 years earlier.