City Hall, Providence, RI

Providence City Hall as seen from Fulton Street, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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City Hall in 2016:

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Providence’s City Hall, located at the western end of Exchange Place, was the city’s first permanent municipal building. For many years, the city government had used the colonial-era Market House on the opposite side of the Providence River, but after decades of disputes over the location of a new building, this site was finally chosen in the 1870s. It was completed in 1878, and was designed in the Second Empire style by Samuel J.F. Thayer, a Boston architect who probably took some inspiration from Boston’s own City Hall.

Many years later, the building remains in use as City Hall, and has seen some notable visitors in the process. In 1902, several years before the first photo was taken, President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech from the steps of the building. More than a half century later, in 1960, John F. Kennedy also gave a speech here, the day before he was elected president. Today, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is the only feature in the first photo that has not changed. Even the statue on the right side has undergone changes. It was dedicated in 1871 as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, but was moved in 1913, and did not return to its original location until 1997.

State & Myrtle Streets, Springfield Mass

The State Street Methodist Episcopal Church at the corner of State and Myrtle Streets, around 1873-1885. Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

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The same location, around 1905. Photo from Springfield Present and Prospective (1905).

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The building in 2015:

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The first photo shows the State Street Methodist Episcopal Church, which was situated opposite the main entrance to the Armory, and likely served many of the workers there.  The church wasn’t here for too long, however, because in 1899 they merged with another congregation, and this property was sold.  The apartment building seen in the last two photos, identified in Springfield Present and Prospective as the Oxford Apartment House, was built on the site and was completed in 1901.  Given its location, it was probably home to many Armory workers, and today the exterior hasn’t really changed at all.  The only major difference between the last two photos is the massive Masonic Temple, which was built in 1923 and can be seen behind the apartment building.

Springfield High School, Springfield

Springfield’s old high school, located on State Street, sometime in the 1870s or 1880s. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The scene in 2012:

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Built in 1874, the building in the top photo was once Springfield’s high school building. It was used as the high school until 1898, when the older part (left-hand side) of Classical High School was completed.  After that, the building was used as a grammar school until 1922, when it was demolished to allow for the expansion of Classical High School.  It was used as a high school until 1986, and has since been converted into condominiums.