Park Street Station, Boston

Tremont Street during construction of the Park Street subway station in 1897. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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Park Street Station after completion, taken in 1906. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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Park Street Station in 2014:

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As mentioned in previous posts, the Tremont Street Subway (today’s MBTA Green Line) was the first subway in the country, and Park Street was one of the first two stations, along with Boylston.  The station opened in 1897, and helped to relieve congestion on Tremont Street by removing the trolleys from the surface, as seen in the first photo.  Today, the station is still there, as is Park Street Church behind it.

See this post and this post for a few photos of the interior of the station.

Tremont Street Trolleys, Boston

Looking up Tremont Street toward Park Street Church in Boston, in 1895. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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Tremont Street in 2014:

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These photos were taken from almost the same spot as the ones in this post and this post, but the first one here shows Tremont Street as it appeared before the construction of the Tremont Street Subway.  By the time the 1895 photo was taken, Tremont Street was becoming crowded with traffic, from pedestrians to carriages and even trolleys, as seen in the distance of the first photo.  Toalleviate the congestion, the trolley lines were put underground, making this the first subway in the country.  Today, Tremont Street is still a busy road, but trolleys such as the green and orange one in the 2014 photo are purely for tourism – the real trolleys still run underground through here on the MBTA Green Line.

Tremont Street Mall, Boston

Looking up Tremont Street toward Park Street along Boston Common, around 1899. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Similar to the scenes in this post, these photos show the view looking along Boston Common toward Park Street Church.  Not much has changed on the Common, but this section of Tremont Street is very different from its appearance 115 years ago; high-rise buildings have long since replaced the old 4-5 story commercial buildings of the 19th century.  A few buildings are visible in the distance, though – in particular, Park Street Church, and also the Tremont Building behind it.

Paul Revere House, Boston

The Paul Revere House in Boston, sometime in the 1800s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The house in 2014:

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The first photo was taken sometime before the 1898 photo in this post, from a slightly different angle. It is the oldest building in downtown Boston, having been built around 1680. However, it changed in appearance over the centuries, and it wasn’t until the early 1900s that the house was restored to its original appearance. Today, the house is open for tours, and is a major landmark along the Freedom Trail.

Tremont Street and King’s Chapel, Boston

Looking south on Tremont Street in Boston, toward School Street, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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These photos were taken from right across the street from the ones in this post, although the “then” photo here was taken nearly 50 years after the one in the other post.  Aside from King’s Chapel, which predates the first photo by about 150 years, a few other buildings survive from the 1906 scene.  The most obvious one is the Tremont Temple, the third building on the left after King’s Chapel.  It was built in 1896 and continues to serve as a Baptist church.

Tremont Street, Boston

The view looking down Tremont Street from School Street, around 1860. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The same scene in 2014:

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A lot has changed on this section of Tremont Street in the past century and a half, but a few constants remain. The front pillars of King’s Chapel are on the left-hand side, and the steeple of Park Street Church can be seen in the distance on the right. Another landmark in the first photo is the Tremont House, which can be seen from the opposite angle in this post. At the time of the 1860 photo, this was one of the best hotels in the city, and as mentioned in the post on the hotel, it had a number of prominent visitors throughout the 1800s.

Tremont Street has always been a major road in the city, but the first photo shows a very different scene. On the eve of the Civil War, it was a narrow dirt road with a few horse-drawn carriages. Within a few years, though, things would start to change, and by the end of the century this scene would be clogged with streetcars, which prompted the construction of the Tremont Street Subway, the first subway in the country. Today, this part of Tremont is located along the Freedom Trail, with a significant number of tourists walking along the sidewalk on a warm summer Saturday in the 2014 photo.