Exchange Block, Hartford, Connecticut

The Exchange Block at the northeast corner of Main and State Streets, on December 6, 1903. Image courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.

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The scene in 2016:

This location at the corner of Main and State Streets, directly opposite the Old State House, has long been an important commercial center for the city. Known as the Exchange Block, it dates back to the 1830s, when it replaced an earlier building destroyed in a fire. By 1903, when the first photo was taken, the signs here indicate a wide range of businesses and professional offices, including a coal company, cigar store, clothing store, tailors, lawyers, a real estate broker, a dentist, and a physician.

The oldest portion of the building appears to be the section in the center, with Greek Revival architecture that likely dates back to the 1830s. The left side of the building has more of an Italianate design, and was probably built or renovated around the 1850s or 1860s. This part of the building was demolished in the 1920s, and everything else from the first photo was gone sometime between the 1930s and 1984, when construction began on State House Square, the office building that now stands on the site here.

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