Children’s Chimes Tower, Stockbridge, Mass

The Children’s Chimes Tower in front of the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge, around 1905-1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

789_1905-1915 loc

The tower in 2015:

789_2015
This bell tower was built on the site of the original church in Stockbridge, which stood here from 1739 until 1785. The church was established by John Sergeant, a missionary who moved here to convert the Mahican people to Christianity. He served here until his death in 1749, and he was replaced by Jonathan Edwards, the former Northampton pastor and prominent theologian who helped influence the First Great Awakening. Edwards was here until 1758, when he became the president of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University.

The present church building, visible in the distance to the left in both photos, was built in 1824, during the pastorate of David Dudley Field, who served here from 1819 to 1837. He and his wife Submit raised their nine children here, four of whom became prominent figures in American history. Their oldest, David Dudley Field II, was a lawyer and law reformer who briefly served in the House of Representatives 1877.  Stephen Johnson Field was also a lawyer, and he served on the US Supreme Court from 1863 to 1897 for what was at the time a record 34 years. Cyrus West Field chose business over law, and he also enjoyed success; in 1858, he and a group of other investors established the first transatlantic telegraph cable. Henry Martyn Field, the youngest of the nine siblings, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a pastor, but he was also a successful writer, publishing a number of travel books in the second half of the 19th century.

The Children’s Chimes bell tower in front of the church was built in 1878 by David Dudley Field II, in honor of his grandchildren, with the intention that, “It will be a memorial of those who are enshrined in my heart, while the ringing of the chimes at sunset I trust will give pleasure to all whose good fortune is to live in this peaceful valley.” Today, almost 140 years later, it is still rung, according to his wishes, every evening at 5:30 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Enfield Congregational Church, Enfield, Connecticut

The Enfield Congregational Church on Route 5 in Enfield, around 1911. Image from Some Old Time Meeting Houses of the Connecticut Valley (1911).

661_1911c someoldtimemeetinghouses

The church in 2015:

661_2015
In terms of churches, Enfield is probably best known as the place where Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  The actual church that he preached in no longer exists, but it stood about a third of a mile south of here along present-day Route 5.  In 1775, a new church was built on this spot, and it was later moved across the street, where it still stands today as the Enfield Historical Society.  The current church, seen here, was built in 1849, in the Greek Revival style that was popular in the first half of the 19th century.  Its design was outdated almost as soon as it was finished, though. Not long after its completion, Greek Revival architecture went out of style, and most new church buildings in the second half of the century were either Gothic Revival or Romanesque.  However, over the years it has been the wood, white-steepled churches of the early 19th century that have become a symbol of small-town New England, and Enfield’s example survives today, essentially unchanged on the exterior from the photo over a century earlier.

Old Church and Courthouse, Northampton, Mass

Looking up Main Street from Pleasant Street in Northampton, toward the old church and courthouse in 1864. Photo from Reminiscences of Old Northampton (1902).

508_1864 reminiscencesofoldnorthampton

The location in 2018:

The 1864 photo is one of the oldest existing photographs of downtown Northampton, and none of the buildings from that scene survive today, 151 years later.  To the left in the 1864 photo is the old church, which was built in 1812.  It was Northampton’s fourth meeting house, and it replaced the 1737 building that had been built during the pastorate of Jonathan Edwards.  It was from here that the influential pastor and theologian helped to spark the Great Awakening revival that spread across the American colonies and in Europe, but by the turn of the century the town was in need of a new building.  The 1812 church was designed by Northampton architect Isaac Damon, who just a few years later would design Old First Church in Springfield, 15 miles to the south.  However, while Old First Church survives to this day, the Northampton church seen in the 1864 photo burned in 1876, and was replaced two years later by the current brownstone church.

On the far right of the 1864 photo is the old Hampshire County Courthouse.  I don’t know when it was built, but it is virtually identical to the 1821 Hampden County Courthouse, seen on the far left of the 1882 photo in this post.  Because of its similar appearance, the Hampshire County Courthouse was probably built around the same time, shortly after some major changes to the county’s borders.  Originally, Hampshire County included all of Western Massachusetts, but it was steadily broken up into multiple counties, beginning in 1761 when Berkshire County was established to the west.  Then in 1811, Franklin County was created in the northern part of the Connecticut River Valley with Greenfield as the county seat, and a year later Hampden County split off to the south, with Springfield as the county seat.  I don’t know what happened to the old courthouse seen here, but it was gone by 1886, when the present-day Hampshire County Courthouse opened on roughly the same spot at the corner of Main and King Streets.

In between the two prominent buildings in the 1864 scene is a relatively small commercial block, the Whitney Building.  The photograph was actually commissioned by George D. Eames, the owner of the building, and was probably intended to advertise the building’s prominent location in town.  Part of the building housed the offices of the Hampshire Gazette, and the newspaper was published in the basement.  This is evidently the reason for the large sign on the building that reads “Caloric Printing Establishment.”  The Whitney Building was demolished in 1876, and a bank building was put in its place.  Today, the 1916 Northampton Institute for Savings building occupies the site where the Whitney Building once stood.