North End, Boston

The view of the North End in Boston, from Boston Harbor, around 1930. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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A similar view in 2006:

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The angle here isn’t perfect – the 1930’s photo is taken a little closer and a little further to the right of the 2006 one – but the same basic view is visible.  Many of the buildings in the North End are still there today, but the Boston skyline behind it has been completely changed – the once prominent Customs House Tower now blends in with the rest of the skyscrapers in downtown, although Old North Church in the foreground still stands out among the low-rises in the North End.

Paul Revere House, Boston

Paul Revere’s House in Boston, around 1898. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The house in 2014:

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Built in 1680, Paul Revere’s house is the oldest building in downtown Boston, and was owned by Paul Revere from 1770 to 1800. He actually added a third floor, as seen in the 1898 photo, but shortly after the photo was taken, the house was purchased by one of Revere’s descendants and restored to its 1680 appearance. Despite all of the modifications, it is estimated that about 90% of the structure is original to 1680, which is impressive, considering how different it looks in the two photos.

John Ward House, Salem, Mass

The John Ward House, at 38 St. Peter Street in Salem, Mass, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2019:

The John Ward House is one of the oldest buildings in Salem, having been built in stages between 1684 and 1723. It was originally the home of currier John Ward, and it remained in the Ward family until 1816. It was subsequently used as a bakery, and by the time the first photo was taken in the early 20th century it had become a tenement house. However, in 1910 the house was moved several blocks away, to its current location off of Brown Street, and it was restored to its colonial-era appearance. Here on St. Peter Street, nothing has survived from the first photo, but the John Ward House is still standing at its new location, and it is now owned by the Peabody Essex Museum.

The house at its current location, as seen in 2013:

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First Parish Church, Lexington, Mass

First Parish Church in Lexington, Mass., between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same church in 2013:

 

Although many buildings in Lexington predate the historic battle in 1775, the First Parish Church building isn’t one of them. This particular church was built in 1847, replacing the 1793 one that burned in the midst of a renovation. Since then, not much has changed from this viewpoint, as evidenced by the two photos taken over a century apart.

Buckman Tavern, Lexington, Mass

The Buckman Tavern in Lexington, Mass., between 1890 and 1901.  Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Between 1910 and 1920.  Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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In 2013:

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Built about 1690, Buckman’s Tavern was the gathering place for many of the militiamen on the morning of the Battle of Lexington, on April 19, 1775. Not much has changed in the appearance of the building since then, let alone since the above photos were taken. However, the air conditioning unit in one of the first floor windows is not an original period item.

Witch House, Salem, Mass

The Witch House, at the northwest corner of Essex and Summer Streets in Salem, around 1901:

The house in 2019:

The Witch House in Salem is one of the oldest houses in Massachusetts, and is the only surviving building in Salem with direct ties to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.  The house was owned by one of the judges, Jonathan Corwin.  It was likely built in the 1660s or 1670s, although some place its date in the 1640s or even earlier.  The 1901 photo was taken prior to its restoration and move; a street widening project necessitated moving it about 35 feet, and the house was restored to its presumed 17th century appearance, which did not include the attached storefront from the 1901 photo.