Old Suffolk County Courthouse, Boston

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.

Summer Street near Atlantic Avenue, Boston

Looking toward the northern side of Summer Street, with Atlantic Avenue in the distance, sometime in the 1800s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.


The scene in 2014:


These photos were taken from alongside South Station (although I’m not sure if South Station was here at the time of the first photo), around the spot where the present-day station facade ends.  The buildings in the first photo are the Hathaway Building (distance) and the New England Building (foreground), and an 1898 atlas of Boston lists both buildings as belonging to Francis Hathaway.  I don’t know when the buildings were demolished, but they were gone by the late 1960s, when construction began on the building that currently occupies the site, Boston’s Federal Reserve Bank Building, which takes up most of the right-hand side of the photo.