YWCA Building, Springfield, Mass

The YWCA building on Howard Street in Springfield, around 1910. Photo from View Book of Springfield (1910).

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The building in 2014:

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The building’s appearance hasn’t changed much over the past century, but its use has.  It was built in 1907 as a residential building for the YWCA, after the organization moved from its old location a block away on Bliss Street.  It continued to be used by the YWCA until at least the 1980s, but today it is the Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center, a minimum security facility for alcohol-related offenders.  However, it probably won’t be for long – Howard Street is right in the middle of the planned casino development, so the days appear to be numbered for the historic building.

Springfield Hospital, Springfield, Mass

Springfield Hospital, around 1905-1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The site in 2014, now the home of Baystate Medical Center:

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From its humble beginnings as Springfield Hospital in 1883, this location has grown into one of the largest hospitals in the state.  The first major expansion happened within 20-30 years of when the first photo was taken, when the building in the 2014 photo opened.  Since then, the hospital has significantly expanded the area behind this building, and the large, grassy area in front of the hospital is now a parking lot.

Mercy Hospital, Springfield, Mass

Mercy Hospital in Springfield, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Mercy Hospital has been at this location on Carew Street since 1898, and treated a number of soldiers returning home from the Spanish-American War.  However, the building on the left-hand side is older than that; it was built as the residence of Haitsill Hastings Allis, a businessman who owned a brick company in Springfield.  The building was sold to the Catholic Church in 1896, and the hospital began working out of the building two years later.  The addition on the right was opened a year later, significantly expanding the number of patients that the hospital could treat.

Today, all of the buildings in the first photo are gone.  The addition was demolished in 1974, and the Allis Mansion itself survived until 2013.  It had been vacant since 2001, and its restoration was unfeasible, so it was taken down to make way for the parking lot in the foreground of the 2014 photo.

Chestnut Junior High School, Springfield, Mass

The Chestnut Junior High School in Springfield, around 1905-1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Chestnut Junior High School opened in 1903, at the corner of Chestnut and Prospect Streets in the North End of Springfield.  The building was used as a school for 101 years, before closing in 2004.  In the years after its closing, several redevelopment proposals were floated, including a seemingly promising plan to convert the school into condominiums, much like what was done with Classical High School on State Street in 1986.  Built only a few years before Chestnut, the school was successfully converted into condos, but that would not be the case with this school in the North End.  The building suffered from water damage and other deterioration, so the renovation costs, combined with a less than desirable neighborhood, meant that the proposal went nowhere.  It was vacant until September 2013, when it was destroyed by a fire.  The site has since been cleared, and nothing remains of the historic school building.

Hampden County Hall of Records, Springfield, Mass

The Hampden County Hall of Records on State Street in Springfield, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same location in 2014:

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The Hampden County Hall of Records was built adjacent to the Hampden County Courthouse in the early 1900s, using a similar architectural style.  Like the courthouse, it spanned from State Street to Elm Street, with this view taken looking north from State Street.  I don’t know when the building was demolished, but it was gone by the 1970s, when the present-day Hampden County Hall of Justice was built on the left-hand side of the 2014 photo.  The courthouse was also built on the spot of the Springfield Institution for Savings building, which is barely visible on the far left of the first photo.

51-55 State Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 51-55 State Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2014:

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I don’t know much about the apartment building in the first photo, except that it was built sometime between 1882 and 1899, and was demolished by 1958, when the present 55 State Street building was built.  It is directly across State Street from the Hampden County Hall of Justice, and it reflects the hideous architectural styles of the mid-20th century.  Sadly, this building will not be among those demolished to make way for the casino, although the buildings in the distance to the left will be.