Howard Street School, Springfield Mass (1)

The Howard Street School, seen from Howard Street, around 1938-1939. Courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The building in 2015:

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The Howard Street School was built in 1905, and was one of many school buildings built in Springfield around the turn of the 20th century, which included Forest Park School, Classical High School, Chestnut Junior High School, and the Technical High School. This school was used for over 100 years, and was most recently known as the Zanetti School.  The Zanetti School moved to a new location in 2009, and two years later the 2011 tornado caused substantial damage to the building.  It has been vacant ever since, and it is now slated to be demolished to make way for a parking garage for the planned MGM Springfield casino.  The 2015 photo was taken on March 24, the day of the ceremonial groundbreaking, and the old school building is to be the first building demolished, once the Massachusetts Historical Commission signs off on it.

Bliss Street Parking Garage, Springfield Mass

The garage at 16 Bliss Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The building in 2015:

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Some then & now scenes are remarkable in how much they have changed, while others are remarkable in how little they’ve changed, like this scene on Bliss Street.  The two photos were taken over 75 years apart, yet nothing seems to have changed except for the cars.  Even the fence around the parking lot looks like it is the same one from the 1930s.  The building in the foreground is a parking garage, which was built in 1928, presumably to accommodate workers for the State Building, which was built in 1929 and can be seen behind the parking garage on the left-hand side of the photo.  The State Building at 95 State Street was built as the annex to 1200 Main Street, which at the time served as the main offices for MassMutual.

Although this particular scene has been virtually unchanged since before the Great Depression, it will be changing very dramatically this year.  All of the properties are within the footprint of the planned MGM casino, and the parking garage is currently scheduled to be demolished in June.  The State Building was originally slated to be demolished, but as of March 2015 it appears that it will be preserved as office space for MGM.  If the casino is finished according to the current plans, the location where this photo was taken will be part of the main gaming floor of the casino.

Dwight House, Springfield Mass

The Dwight House on Howard Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2015:

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This scene is soon to change even more dramatically than it did between the first two photos – all of the buildings in the 2015 scene are within the footprint of the planned MGM casino.  Most of the buildings will be demolished, except for the old MassMutual building in the background.  Strangely enough, the building in the old photo will end up outliving almost all of the ones in the present-day photo; its former site is now a parking lot across Howard Street from Red Rose Pizzeria, but the building itself was dismantled and moved to Deerfield, where it sits on Old Main Street in Historic Deerfield.

The house in the first photo, the Dwight House, was built in 1754.  It was originally owned by Colonel Josiah Dwight, and later by his son, Colonel Timothy Dwight.  It was originally located on Main Street, but was moved to Howard Street around 1890, where it was photographed in the first view here.  By the 1930s view, it was divided into a duplex and was used as a tenement, and at this point was probably the oldest building in the city.  However, developers were eyeing the property, so in 1950 it was dismantled and moved to Deerfield, as seen in the photo on the Historic Deerfield website.  This arrangement preserved the building, but it also creates the odd situation of a city’s oldest building being located over 30 miles from the city.

95-99 Elliot Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 95-99 Elliot Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The building in 2014:

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Known as the Edward B. Barton House, this duplex at the corner of Elliot and Salem Streets was built in 1887.  It was originally home to Edward B. Barton, a traveling shoe salesman, and William H. Wright, the owner of Massasoit Cigar Manufactory and Store.  Today, aside from a few minor changes with the porches, the house doesn’t look all that different from its appearance in the late 1930s.  Like other historic properties on Elliot Street, it is located within the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District.

85-87 Elliot Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 85-87 Elliot Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of Springfield Preservation Trust.

Apartments

The building in 2014:

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This apartment building on Elliot Street, opposite Edwards Street, was built in 1907.  During this time, many of the single and two-family buildings that once lined many of the streets in the downtown area were being replaced by larger apartment buildings, as the downtown grew and demand for housing increased.  The building was built by Gagnier & Angers, two French Canadians who built many of the apartment buildings in this part of the city in the early 1900s.  Presumably, not much changed in the buildings exterior appearance between its construction and the first photo in the late 1930s, and not much changed in the ensuing 75 years.  All of the buildings from the 1930s photo are still there, including this apartment building, the wood duplex to the left, and the brick apartment building behind it.  Together, they make up part of the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District, part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Turnverein Block, Springfield, Mass

The Springfield Co-Operative Bank building at 81 State Street, Springfield, Mass, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The building in 2014:

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This building at 81 State Street was built in 1888 as the home of the Turnverein Society, a German-American social club.  In the 1920s, the façade was renovated in line with contemporary styles, although the rest of the building reveals the earlier architectural design.  By the time the first photo was taken, it was Springfield Co-Operative Bank, and the building continued to be used as a bank until at least the 1980s.  Today, the building is within the footprint of the planned MGM Springfield casino, and will be demolished, along with the tall annex to 1200 Main Street, which is seen directly behind the Turnverein Block.