Mt. Tom Summit House, Holyoke, Mass. (1)

The view of the Mt. Tom Summit House around 1900-1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The same view in 2019:

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, mountain-top hotels were all the rage. Among other things, they offered spectacular views, along with cooler weather during the hot, humid New England summers in the days before air conditioning. There were three such hotels in the Mt. Tom vicinity alone, including this one at the summit of the highest point along the range. However, along with being very popular, their isolated location also made them vulnerable to fire. The building in this photo was the second built on the summit; the first, which opened in 1897, burned in 1900. This one would eventually burn as well, in 1929. A third one was built, but closed in 1938, a victim of the Great Depression as well as changes in demand.

Today, the foundation of the hotel is there, but it is filled with the antennas and related equipment, and is fenced-in and off limits to the public.  Hikers to the summit can still walk along the boardwalk, or at least what’s left of it. The part seen in the second photo has collapsed, and other parts of the boardwalk are in various stages of decay, but today it is the only obvious reminder of that was once at the summit.

View looking north from the Mt. Tom Summit House, Holyoke, Mass.

The view looking north from the Mt. Tom Summit House, between 1900 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2019:

As with the previous photo, it wasn’t possible to perfectly re-create the original image, because it was taken from atop a building that no longer exists. However, the 2019 photo shows the same general view, although from ground level.  I took the photo from around the same spot as the concession stand in the lower right corner of the first photo.  According to the sign on the building, they offered “Salted Peanuts and Kibbe’s Corn Cakes” for five cents.  The building further away on the right-hand side of the photo is the upper station of the railway, which ran trolleys up and down the mountain, carrying passengers for 25 cents per ride.  The boardwalk in the first photo leads down to the station, where the people in the photo most certainly arrived at the summit – I can’t imagine any of them climbing up in such clothing.

Mt. Tom Summit House View, Holyoke, Mass.

The view of Easthampton from the Summit House on Mt. Tom, around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Approximately the same view in 2014:

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It’s almost impossible to get an identical view, because the Summit House no longer exists, and the actual site of it has radio towers that are behind fences.  However, these two photos both show the same general section of the boardwalk that once went across the summit. The 2014 photo was probably taken around the spot in the lower left of the 1908 photo where a flat rock protrudes above the boardwalk. Compare to a similar “before” view, and a 2010 view of the location.

Grace Coolidge at home in Northampton Mass

First Lady Grace Coolidge at her home in Northampton in 1928. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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Massasoit Street, where the Coolidges lived from 1906 until 1930, remains largely unchanged – even the concrete slabs on the walkway appear to be the same ones that Mrs. Coolidge stepped on in the 1928 photo.  See also this post and this post for other photos of the Coolidges at their home.

Grace & John Coolidge, Northampton Mass

First Lady Grace Coolidge and her son John, at their Northampton home in 1928. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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According to the caption, this photo was taken during Mrs. Coolidge’s visit to her mother, who was apparently staying in their half of the duplex on Massassoit Street in Northampton while Calvin Coolidge was serving as president and living in slightly different accommodations.  Presidency aside, the Coolidges lived here from 1906 until 1930. Calvin died in 1933 at their new Northampton home, The Beeches, and Grace died in 1957. John Coolidge, however, lived until 2000, when he died at the age of 93.

Calvin & Grace Coolidge at home in Northampton

Calvin & Grace Coolidge in March 1929, after returning home from Washington DC. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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After serving as president from 1923 to 1929, Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace returned to their home at 21 Massasoit Street in Northampton Mass.  They lived here in the left-hand side of the duplex from 1906 until 1930, and the first photo above shows them after they returned home from Washington DC, following the conclusion of Coolidge’s second term as president.  In 1930, they moved into a much larger and more secluded house, The Beeches, located at 16 Hampton Terrace, where Calvin Coolidge died in 1933.