Hull Street, Boston

Children keep cool next to a block of ice on Hull Street in Boston’s North End, sometime in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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Hull Street in 2014:

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Not much has changed on Hull Street in the past 80 years – the neighborhood has become wealthier, but it remains predominantly Italian-American, as it was when the 1930s photo was taken.  At least some of the children in the photo were probably either Italian or Jewish, and it is likely that some of them have children or grandchildren who live in the area.  In fact, some of them might still be alive today, and who knows – perhaps one of them lives here on Hull Street, where they can now sit in air conditioned homes to stay cool, instead of hovering around a block of ice.  Everything else is the same, from the houses to the left, to the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground on the right, and the apartment building beyond it.  In fact, the curb stones are probably the same ones that the ice cart rested against.

Faneuil Hall and Dock Square, Boston (2)

Faneuil Hall, taken from Dock Square in Boston in 1930. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Similar to the scene in the photos in this post, this view shows Faneuil Hall as the one constant in an otherwise very different scene.  It was probably the oldest building in the 1930 photo by at least 100 years, but 84 years later it has outlasted all of the other buildings, many of which were taken down during various urban renewal projects in the 1950s and 1960s, including the construction of the Central Artery.

Faneuil Hall and Dock Square, Boston (1)

Faneuil Hall, taken from Dock Square in Boston in 1930. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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Faneuil Hall and the Custom House Tower are still there, but otherwise this scene has changed dramatically.  Taken from in front of modern-day City Hall, the scene in the first photo shows the Faneuil Hall area when it was still a major commercial center in the city, as opposed to a destination primarily for tourists and city workers on their lunch break.  Today, Congress Street cuts through the area where Dock Square once was, and behind the photos, City Hall towers over the area.

Arcade Theatre, Springfield

The Arcade Theatre on State Street in Springfield, around 1933. Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures.

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The same scene in 2012:

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The building in the foreground of the 1933 photo is the Arcade Theatre, which opened two years earlier.  The marquee advertises the film College Humor, a Bing Crosby comedy that was released in July of 1933, hence giving the approximate date of the photo.  The theater closed in 1971, and was demolished a year later to allow for Dwight Street to be extended up the hill to Maple Street.  This enabled Dwight Street and Maple/Chestnut Streets to function as a one-way pair to help with traffic around the newly-built Civic Center (now the MassMutual Center, barely visible on the far right of the 2012 photo).  The building in the center of the photo is the Epiphany Tower, which is being renovated to become a Holiday Inn Express.  Several other buildings that still exist are the c.1893 old Masonic Building at the corner of State and Main (with the green tower) and 1200 Main Street just beyond it, which was built in 1908.

Notice also the road itself – 1933 seems like a rather late date for a major road in Springfield – at the time it was part of Route 20 – to be paved with cobblestone, but apparently that was the case.  Notice the trolley tracks as well, and the trolley in the distance – very different from the PVTA buses that now navigate the streets of Springfield.

Empire State Building (6)

The view of the upper east side of Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building in 1932. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Gottscho-Schleisner Collection.

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The same view in 2011:

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Quite a lot has changed in the Manhattan skyline since 1932 – the two photos show the contrast between the early 20th century skyscrapers, which were mandated to have step-like setbacks, and the sleek, box-like modern skyscrapers of 2011.  However, many of the old skyscrapers survive today, especially in the foreground.  The most prominent in the 1932 picture, the Chrysler Building, is still easily seen from the Empire State Building today, although today it is more its distinctive spire, rather than its height alone, that sets it apart from the rest.

Empire State Building (5)

The view looking west from the Empire State Building in 1951. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The scene in 2011:

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There hasn’t been an incredible amount of change in the past 60 years in this small wedge of Manhattan, but one notable building that no longer exists is Penn Station, seen in the upper left of the 1951 photo.  The above-ground part of the historic station was demolished in 1963 and replaced with Madison Square Garden, which is barely visible in the 2011 photo – the round building immediately to the left of the tall black skyscraper.