The old Suffolk County Courthouse at Court Square, Boston, between 1904 and 1912. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.
The scene today:
The Boston Public Library Flickr page for the first photo estimates that it was taken around 1890, but it’s way off. The signs on either side of the steps read “East Boston Tunnel,” which wasn’t opened until 1904. The building itself, which was built in 1836, was demolished in 1912 to make way for the present-day building, so the first photo was evidently taken sometime in between.
The original building was the old Suffolk County Courthouse; Suffolk County at the time included a number of municipalities surrounding Boston, but by the time the second photo was taken, most of those had been annexed by Boston. The courthouse, though, was conveniently located right behind the old Boston City Hall, which still survives today, although the city government has since moved a few blocks away. The building can be seen in both photos, in the distance on the left-hand side. The courthouse itself is long gone, but the building that replaced it retains the same footprint, and similar architectural features, although it is significantly taller.