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.

Main Street, Northampton Mass (2)

The view looking west from the corner of Main & King Streets in Northampton, around 1907. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2018:

Taken around the same time as this photo, from the opposite end of Main Street, not a whole lot has changed with the buildings.  However, just about everything else has – the busy intersection no longer has trolley tracks, but has plenty of cars, along with pedestrians and protesters outside the courthouse (left).  As previously mentioned, these photos were taken around the time that Calvin Coolidge was beginning his political career; he would’ve seen this view daily as he walked the half a block from his law office to the courthouse.

Main Street, Northampton, Mass

Main Street in Northampton, looking east from in front of City Hall, around 1907. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2014:

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From this angle, downtown Northampton appears virtually unchanged in over a century.  The first photo is the view that then-state representative Calvin Coolidge would’ve seen as he walked out of City Hall and headed towards his law office.  Within a few years, he would become mayor of Northampton, and from there he quickly moved up the political ranks.

Hampshire County Courthouse, Northampton

The Hampshire County Courthouse in Northampton, Mass., around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same building in 2014:

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The Hampshire County Courthouse hasn’t changed much since 1904, nor has it changed much since it was completed in 1886.  It bears strong resemblance to the Hampden County Courthouse that was built about 12 years earlier, and unlike that building, this one retains its top floor and its dormers adjacent to the tower.  Around the time that the earlier photo was taken, the Clerk of Courts was a local attorney and former City Council member named Calvin Coolidge, who would eventually go on to work a much more notable job in a much larger and more prominent building.   One difference between 1904 and now, although not visible in the photo, is a statue of said former Clerk of Courts, now on the grounds of the courthouse.

First Church of Northampton

The First Church of Northampton, between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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In 2014:

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Built in 1877, Northampton’s First Church hasn’t changed much, although its surroundings are different than they were a century ago.  Notice in particular the absence of trolley tracks or wires and the proliferation of cars.  Nearly three centuries and three church buildings ago, this was the home to one of America’s most prominent theologians, Jonathan Edwards, who was pastor of the Northampton church from 1727 to 1751, and who led the Great Awakening from his pulpit here.  The church building that he built in 1737 was replaced in 1812 by one designed by Isaac Damon, the same architect who designed Springfield’s Old First Church seven years later.  That building burned in 1876, and was replaced by the present structure the following year.