French Protestant Church, Springfield Mass

The former French Protestant Church on Bliss Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The church in 2015:

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This church on Bliss Street was built in 1887 as the French Protestant Church, thanks in part to the efforts of Daniel B. Wesson, whose Smith & Wesson factory was just on the other side of Main Street from here.  Many of his workers were French-Canadian Protestants, and he wanted them to have a French alternative to the Roman Catholic church.  However, the congregation disbanded in 1909, and several other churches used the building until 1919, when it was purchased by the First Spiritualist Society, who remained at the Bliss Street location until 2013.  The property was purchased by MGM Springfield, and while several historic buildings will be demolished to build the casino, the church will be moved to a new location on the MGM property and renovated as a restaurant.

Calvin Coolidge and Allen Treadway at Plymouth, Vermont

Congressman Allen T. Treadway presenting two rakes to President Calvin Coolidge at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont on August 19, 1924.  Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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I’m not quite sure what’s going on in this first scene.  I understand that Congressman Allen Treadway is giving two hand-carved rakes to President Coolidge, but I’m not entirely sure why.  Film of this ceremony can be seen at the beginning of this video.

Congressman Treadway represented the First Massachusetts District from 1913 until 1945, and before that he was the President of the Massachusetts Senate from 1909-1911, three years before Coolidge himself would hold the same position.  They never actually served together in the Senate; Treadway left just before Coolidge started, but like Coolidge he was a Republican from Massachusetts and fellow graduate of Amherst College.

Coolidge Family at Plymouth, Vermont (2)

Calvin, Grace, and John Coolidge at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont, probably in August, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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In the 1924 scene, President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge are walking toward their car, with their son John walking behind them.  It’s the same car as the one in this post, but it doesn’t appear to be taken at the same time as that one, since all of them are wearing different clothing.  I don’t know where they are heading, but probably not anywhere too formal, given that John is wearing overalls.  Today, the scene hasn’t changed much, although sadly there are no antique cars parked in front of the house anymore.

Coolidge Family at Plymouth, Vermont (1)

Grace, John, and Calvin Coolidge at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont, probably in August, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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The 1924 photo in this post was probably taken at about the same time as this one, when John Coolidge (center) was stacking kindling at his grandfather’s farm in Plymouth, Vermont.  Standing on either side of him are his parents, Calvin and Grace Coolidge.  Today, the barn doesn’t look much different, aside from the ramp leading up to the door.

Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford at Plymouth, Vermont

From left to right, John Calvin Coolidge, Sr. (President Coolidge’s father), President Calvin Coolidge, a bucket, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison, at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont, on August 19, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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As mentioned in this post, three industrial giants of the early 20th century stopped in Plymouth, Vermont in August 1924 to visit the president.  Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone (not pictured) were traveling around the country on a camping trip, using cars to travel from place to place to promote the many recreational opportunities that cars provided.  During their brief stay in Plymouth, Coolidge presented Ford with a sap bucket that had belonged to his great-great grandfather; the presentation ceremony was recorded in the photo above, and also in this film, starting at about the 3:18 mark.

Calvin Coolidge with Edison, Ford, and Firestone at Plymouth, Vermont

President Calvin Coolidge sits with some notable guests at the Coolidge home in Plymouth, Vermont on August 19, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The house in 2014:

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In the early 1920s, automobile ownership was starting to increase among the American public, in part because of the marketing tactics of some of the men in the 1924 photo.  Seated from left to right are Harvey Firestone (yes, that Firestone), Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Grace Coolidge, and John Calvin Coolidge, Sr.  Standing behind Mrs. Coolidge is Russell Firestone.

For the past 10 years, Edison, Ford, and the Firestones had been taking camping trips across the country to publicize recreational use of automobiles.  During one such trip in August 1924, the industrial giants stopped at Plymouth to visit the president, and although they only stayed for an hour, the journalists covering the president’s vacation made the most of it, photographing the group in front of the Coolidge Homestead.  While the guests were there, President Coolidge gave Henry Ford a gift: a sap bucket that had belonged to his great-great grandfather.  He signed his name on the bottom of the bucket, which is what he appears to be doing in this photo.  Footage of this ceremony can be seen starting at about the 1:45 mark of this film.