Middle Street, Hadley, Mass

The view looking north on Middle Street towards Russell Street in Hadley, around 1900. Image from History of Hadley (1905).

The scene in 2021:

Hadley is one of the oldest towns in western Massachusetts, having been first settled by European colonists in 1659 and incorporated as a town two years later. Its terrain is mostly flat, and it is situated on the inside of a broad curve in the Connecticut River, giving it some of the finest farmland in New England. The main settlement developed in this vicinity, with a broad town common on what is now West Street. This common was the town center during the colonial period, and it was the site of three successive meetinghouses beginning in 1670.

The third meetinghouse, which is shown here in these photos, was completed on the town common in 1808. This location was a matter of serious contention, as by the turn of the 19th century much of the town’s development had shifted east toward what is now Middle Street. Tradition ultimately prevailed, and the third meetinghouse was built on the common. However, this proved to be only temporary, because in 1841 it was relocated. The intended location was to be a compromise, located halfway between the common and Middle Street, but the movers ignored this and brought the building all the way to Middle Street, to its current location just south of Route 9.

Architecturally, this meetinghouse reflects some of the changes that were occurring in New England church designs. Prior to the late 18th century, the region’s churches tended to be plain in appearance. Many did not have steeples, and those steeples that did exist tended to rise from the ground level on the side of the building, rather than being fully incorporated into the main section of the church. This began to change with prominent architects like Charles Bulfinch, who drew inspiration from classical architecture when designing churches and other buildings. Bulfinch’s churches tended to feature a triangular pediment above the main entrance, with a steeple that rose from above the pediment, rather than from the ground.

Bulfinch does not appear to have played a hand in designing Hadley’s church, but its builder was clearly influenced by his works. It has a pediment with a steeple above it, and it also has a fanlight above the front door, and a Palladian window on the second floor. Other classically-inspired decorative elements include pilasters flanking the front entrance and dentils around the pediment. As for the steeple itself, it does not bear strong resemblance to the ones that Bulfinch designed, but the builder likely took inspiration from other 18th century New England churches. In particular, it bears a strong resemblance the steeples of churches such as Old North Church in Boston and the First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Aside from moving the church to this site, the other major event of 1841 that solidified Middle Street as the town center was the construction of a town hall here. Prior to this point, town meetings were held in the church, as was the case in most Massachusetts towns in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Massachusetts was slow to create a separation between church and state, and not until 1833 did the state outlaw the practice of taxing residents to support local churches. Here in Hadley, this soon led to a physical separation between the church and the town government, although as shown in this scene the two buildings stood side-by-side on Middle Street.

While the church features Bulfinch-inspired architecture, the design of the town hall reflects the Greek Revival style of the mid-19th century. This style was particularly popular for government and other institutional buildings of the period, as it reflected the democratic ideals of ancient Greece. The town hall is perhaps Hadley’s finest example of this style, with a large portico supported by four Doric columns, along with Doric pilasters in between the window bays on all four sides of the building.

The first photo shows Middle Street around the turn of the 20th century, looking north toward the church, the town hall, and Russell Street further in the distance. The photo also shows a house on the foreground, just to the right of the church. Based on its architecture, this house likely dated back to about the mid-18th century, but it was gone by 1903, when the current house was built on the site. This house was originally the home of Dr. Frank Smith, and it was designed by Springfield architect Guy Kirkham.

Today, the town of Hadley is significantly larger than it was when the first photo was taken more than 120 years ago. Russell Street is now Route 9, a major east-west thoroughfare that has significant commercial development thanks to Hadley’s position at the center of the Five Colleges region. Likewise, Middle Street is far from the dirt road in the first photo, and it is now Route 47. However, much of Hadley has retained its historic appearance, including its extensive farmland and its many historic buildings. Here on Middle Street, both the church and the town hall are still standing. They have seen few major exterior changes during this time, and the church is still an active congregation, while the town hall remains the seat of Hadley’s town government. Both buildings are now part of the Hadley Center Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Fifth and Minor Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Looking north on Fifth Street near the corner of Minor Street in Philadelphia, in February 1859. Image courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia, Frederick De Bourg Richards Collection.

The scene in 2019:

The first photo shows a row of commercial buildings along the west side of Fifth Street. Of these, the most significant is Robert Smith’s Brewery in the center of the scene. This brewery underwent many name changes over its long history, but it dated back to the colonial era, when Joseph Potts opened a brewery here around 1774. Potts operated it until 1786, when he sold it to Henry Pepper. By this point Philadelphia had become a leading producer of beer, and this brewery remained in the Pepper family for many years. Robert Smith, a native of England who had learned the trade as an apprentice at the Bass Brewery, joined the firm in 1837, and eventually took over the business in the following decade.

As was the case in most early American breweries, this facility produced ale. Americans began to acquire a taste for lagers by the second half of the 19th century, thanks to an influx of German immigrants with surnames like Busch, Coors, Miller, and Pabst. Here in Philadelphia, though, Robert Smith continued to have success brewing ales. He remained here for nearly 30 years after the first photo was taken, and eventually incorporated the business as the Robert Smith India Pale Ale Brewing Company in 1887. A year later, he moved to a new, larger facility at the corner of 38th Street and Girard Avenue. Smith ran the brewery at the new location until his death in 1893.

Smith’s brewery business was ultimately acquired by the Christian Schmidt Brewing Company, the largest brewery in the city. With the exception of the Prohibition era, Schmidt continued brewing Smith’s popular Tiger Head Ale until the company closed in 1987. In the meantime, the original brewery here on Fifth Street was likely demolished soon after Robert Smith moved to the new brewery, and it was definitely gone by the mid-1950s, when this entire block was demolished to make way for the Independence Mall. As a result, there are no surviving buildings from the first photo, and even Minor Street itself is gone. This site is now the southeastern section of the Independence Mall, and it is located only a few hundred feet to the north of Independence Hall.

426-430 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A group of rowhouses on the south side of Chestnut Street, near the corner of Fifth Street in Philadelphia, in May 1859. Image courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia, Frederick De Bourg Richards Collection.

The scene in 2019:

The scene in the first photo shows a group of rowhouses on the south side of Chestnut Street, facing west toward the corner of Fifth Street. Based on their architecture, these houses were likely built around the late 18th or early 19th centuries, and they may have originally been single-family homes, although by the time the photo was taken they all had commercial storefronts. Although located just outside of the frame on the far right side, the house at the corner of Fifth Street had once been the home and studio of artist Gilbert Stuart, and it was there in 1796 that George Washington sat for the famous Lansdowne Portrait.

The first photo was taken by Frederick De Bourg Richards, who used his camera to document the historic buildings that were, in many cases, rapidly disappearing and being replaced by modern buildings. Richards did not include any caption aside from the location of the photo, but a few of these buildings appear to have been in rough shape, particularly the one on the left at 426 Chestnut Street, which has a crumbling exterior wall. According to the signs, the ground floor of this building was occupied by L. J. Levy & Co., a dry goods merchant. Just to the right of this building, at 428 Chestnut Street, was the storefront of silversmiths Bailey & Co. This building also features a sign for the daguerreotype studio of Broadbent & Co., which was probably located on one of the upper floors.

Despite the signs advertising for these companies, both 426 and 428 Chestnut Street appear to be vacant, with boarded-up storefronts. It is entirely possible that these were both being prepared for demolition, especially given the poor condition of 426 Chestnut. Either way, all of the buildings in this scene were eventually demolished by 1885, when the Drexel Building was constructed on this site. The Drexel Building was, in turn, demolished as part of the development of the Independence National Historical Park, and today this site of Signers’ Garden. This small park honors the signers of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and it features a statue of Philadelphia native George Clymer, who signed both of these documents.

William Marshall House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The house at 322 Spruce Street, between Third and Fourth Streets in Philadelphia, in March 1859. Image courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia, Frederick De Bourg Richards Photograph Collection.

The scene in 2019:

The house in the first photo was built in 1786 as the home of the Reverend William Marshall, who served as pastor of the Scots Presbyterian Church and later the Associate Presbyterian Church. He lived here throughout the late 18th century, and during this time his wife ran a boarding house in order to supplement his pastoral salary. She hosted a variety of notable boarders here, including a few of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and, a few years later, several French noblemen who were living here in exile after the French Revolution. Among them was Louis-Marie, vicomte de Noailles, the brother-in-law of the Marquis de Lafayette, who stayed here for several years starting in 1792. However, by far the most prominent boarder here was Louis Philippe d’Orléans, who would eventually become King Louis Philippe of France.

Louis Philippe arrived in Philadelphia in 1796 when he was 23 years old. His father had been the Duke of Orléans, and both men had been supporters of the French Revolution, with Louis Philippe serving with distinction as an officer in the revolutionary army, but the family ultimately fell out of favor during the Reign of Terror. The Duke was executed by guillotine in 1793, and Louis Philippe fled the country, eventually ending up in Philadelphia after spending several years traveling throughout Europe.

He appears to have remained here with the Marshalls for several months, until the arrival of his two brothers in 1797. They subsequently moved into a house of their own in Philadelphia, but Louis Philippe would continue his travels here in America, living in New York and Boston before eventually returning to France with his brothers in 1800.

Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1815, he became a part of the royal court, although he tended to be more liberal-minded than the kings were. The final monarch from the House of Bourbon, Charles X, was ultimately forced to abdicate in the July Revolution of 1830, and this created an opportunity for Louis Philippe, who was then declared king. In contrast to the conservative Charles X, he tried to portray himself as a man of the people, and he was referred to as the “Citizen King.” He reigned as king for the next 18 years, but over time his popularity waned, and he too was forced to abdicate, in February 1848, making him the last king in the history of France.

In the meantime, the modest boarding house where the future king had once lived was still standing here on Spruce Street at the end of his reign. The first photo was taken in 1859, just 11 years after Louis Philippe’s abdication, by Frederick De Bourg Richards, as part of an effort to document historic landmarks in the city. By this point the building was the home of Miss Carr’s School for Young Ladies, although the exterior likely had not changed much from its original appearance, since it still resembled a typical late 18th century rowhouse.

The house was still standing here as late as 1885, when it was featured in an article in the Magazine of American History. However, the article noted that it was currently in use as an upholstery shop, and that it “has undergone considerable alteration since its palmy days.” The article lamented the poor state of preservation, while also observing that it had once been a curiosity among visitors but had since fallen into obscurity. This is perhaps due in part to the fact that, when the first photo was taken, the reign of Louis Philippe was still a recent memory for most people, while by the mid-1880 nearly 40 years had elapsed since his abdication.

Today, the streets of Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood are still lined with historic rowhouses, but the former residence of Louis Philippe is not among them. It was demolished at some point, probably in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, and today the lot is part of St. Joseph’s Way, a pedestrian walkway that runs parallel to Third and Fourth Streets for several blocks. There are, however, a few surviving remnants from the first photo. Most obvious is the house on the right side, but both photos also feature the spire of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which was built in 1758 and still stands in the distance at the corner of Third and Pine Streets.

House of Representatives Chamber, Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The House of Representatives Chamber in Congress Hall, around 1925. Image from Byways and Boulevards: In and About Historic Philadelphia (1925).

The scene in 2019:

As discussed in an earlier post, Congress Hall served as the national capitol building from 1790 to 1800, during the formative years of the American government. It was here that the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, and where both George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated, and where numerous debates occurred regarding the role of the federal government. The building is small, especially when compared to the neighboring Independence Hall, and nearly the entire first floor is occupied by the House chamber, as shown here. The smaller Senate chamber is upstairs on the southern side of the building, and the rest of the upper floor consists of committee rooms.

Philadelphia had served as the national capital throughout most of the American Revolution, aside from several interruptions during British occupations. The Continental Congress met in the Pennsylvania state house, which later came to be known as Independence Hall, and it was there that the delegates signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. However, at the end of the war in 1783, Congress was threatened by a mob of American soldiers who gathered to demand payment for their wartime service. The state government declined to call out the militia to protect Congress, so the delegates left the city and met in several different cities over the next few years before ending up in New York in 1785.

New York would serve as the national capital for the next five years, but in 1790 Congress passed the Residence Act, designating present-day Washington D.C. as the new capital. This was done as a compromise with the southern states, in exchange for their support for federal assumption of state wartime debts. However, before the federal government could relocate to Washington, the city had to be built from scratch, so the law also provided that Philadelphia would serve as a temporary capital until 1800.

When the federal government returned to Philadelphia in 1790, it did not use Independence Hall. Instead, the government used two newly-constructed buildings that flanked the state capitol. On the east side of Independence Hall was the new Philadelphia City Hall, which was occupied by the U.S. Supreme Court. Here on the west side, this building was originally intended to be the Philadelphia County Courthouse, but it was repurposed to serve as the capitol building instead. It was originally slightly smaller, but in 1793 it was expanded with a 26-foot addition on the south side, in order to accommodate the increased size of Congress after the 1790 census.

Congress met here in this building for the first time on December 6, 1790, at the start of the third session of the First Congress. This was before the start of formal, organized political parties, but Congress was divided between the Pro-Administration and Anti-Administration factions. The Pro-Administration group, which would later become the Federalist Party, held majorities in both houses, with Pennsylvania native Frederick Muhlenberg presiding over the House sessions here as the nation’s first Speaker of the House.

Congress remained in session here until March 3, 1791, and during this time they passed several important bills. One of these chartered the First Bank of the United States, and another established the Tariff of 1791. Both were important steps in Alexander Hamilton’s financial plan for the country, but the latter would prove particularly controversial, eventually leading to the Whiskey Rebellion. During this session, Congress also admitted Vermont as the 14th state in the union. Formerly a de facto independent nation, Vermont became the first new state added to the country after the original 13 colonies.

Over the next few years, Congress enacted a number of other important pieces of legislation. Both the Post Office and the US Mint were established here in 1792, and in 1794 Congress authorized the first six ships of the US Navy, including the USS Constitution. Four years later, Congress created the Department of the Navy, along with the US Marine Corps. More controversially, in 1795 the Senate ratified the Jay Treaty in their chamber upstairs, and in 1798 both houses enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts.

This building was also the site of two presidential inaugurations. In 1793, George Washington was inaugurated to his second term in the Senate chamber, and then four years later John Adams was inaugurated here in the House chamber. This latter event was particularly remarkable because it featured a retiring head of state who was voluntarily transferring power to a successor. Although this would become commonplace in American politics, it was in sharp contrast to the European monarchies of the era. John Adams’s inauguration was also the first to occur after a contested presidential election, and the runner-up in the election, Thomas Jefferson, became vice president in accordance with the Electoral College system in place at the time.

The inauguration occurred here in this room on March 4, 1797. Writing about the event two days later, the Philadelphia Gazette and Universal Daily Advertiser published the following account:

At an early hour, a great number of citizens had assembled round Congress Hall, to witness the retirement of our late worthy President WASHINGTON from public life. The concourse increased to such a degree as to fill the streets and when the gallery doors were thrown open, the house was suddenly filled up, to overflowing.—The Ladies added to the dignity of the scene, number of them were seated in the chairs of the representatives, and others were accommodated with seats on the floor of the house. A few minutes after the Senate arrived preceded by their President, George Washington entered, but before he had advanced half way across the floor, a burst of applause broke forth from every quarter of the house—on the entrance of John Adams like marks of approbation were expressed.

Adams was inaugurated by Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth, and he gave his inaugural address here in the House chamber. In his speech, Adams praised the Constitution, warned of potential dangers to American liberty, and extolled the virtues of George Washington. His speech also set a yet-unbroken record for the longest individual sentence in any presidential address. At 727 words, it comprised nearly a third of his entire speech, and it was more than five times the length of Washington’s entire second inaugural address.

Along with the presidential inaugurations, Congress Hall was also the site of the annual State of the Union addresses, which were delivered before joint sessions of Congress. From 1790 to 1793, these occurred in the Senate chamber, but starting in 1794 the larger House chamber was used. George Washington and John Adams each gave three State of the Union addresses here in the House chamber, including Washington’s final address to Congress on December 7, 1796. This speech is often confused with his Farewell Address, which had been published several months earlier. However, these were two distinct works, and despite its name, the Farewell Address was not actually presented as a speech, nor was it his final public statement as president. For his December speech here at Congress Hall, Washington gave an overview of the preceding year and his recommendations for the future, and then closed his presidency with the following remarks:

The situation in which I now stand, for the last time, in the midst of the Representatives of the People of the United States, naturally recalls the period when the Administration of the present form of Government commenced; and I cannot omit the occasion, to congratulate you and my Country, on the success of the experiment; nor to repeat my fervent supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and Sovereign Arbiter of Nations, that his Providential care may still be extended to the United States; that the virtue and happiness of the People, may be preserved; and that the Government, which they have instituted, for the protection of their liberties, maybe perpetual.

Other than the two presidents who were inaugurated and delivered State of the Union addresses here, many of the nation’s early leaders served as legislators in this building. James Madison was a representative from Virginia until 1797, and his time here in this room helped to establish himself as one of the founders of the Democratic-Republican Party. During the early 1790s, Madison’s fellow Virginian and eventual presidential successor James Monroe also served here in Congress, although he was a senator. Early in his political career, Andrew Jackson briefly served here from 1796 to 1797 as the first representative from Tennessee, before becoming a senator later in 1797. Another young politician who served here in this room was William Henry Harrison, who represented the Northwest Territories as a non-voting delegate from 1799 to 1800, more than 40 years before he was elected president.

Although Philadelphia had been designated as merely a temporary capital, many here held out hope that the nation’s second-largest city would ultimately prove more attractive to the federal government than the nearly uninhabited swampland along the Potomac. However, despite efforts by locals to make Philadelphia the permanent capital, Congress adjourned its final session here on May 14, 1800. When they reconvened in the fall, it was in Washington, DC, in the unfinished US Capitol.

With Congress gone, this building returned to its intended purpose as a courthouse, and by 1824 it was occupied by at least eight different courts in four courtrooms. Here on the first floor, the former House chamber had been divided into two courtrooms, with a hallway and stairs in between them. On the north side was the District Court for the City and County of Philadelphia, and on the south side was the Court of Common Pleas. This latter courtroom was also used by the Orphan’s Court, the Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery, and for the Quarter Sessions. On the upper floor, the north side of the building was occupied by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for the Eastern District, and the former Senate chamber on the south side was occupied by both the federal district court and the federal circuit court. Also on the second floor was a law library and the office of the controllers of public schools, which were located along a hallway in between the two courtrooms.

Many of these courts would eventually move to different buildings, but the Court of Common Pleas remained here until 1895. With this court’s departure, the future of Congress Hall was uncertain. By this point it was widely recognized as a landmark worthy of restoration, but it was also in poor condition. One 1902 news article, which appeared in newspapers across the country, described how it was in a “frightful state of dilapidation,” and how “[t]he floor has fallen in and pillars, plaster and gallery railings are lying in the cellar.” The city agreed to spend $30,000 toward restoring the building, but evidently little work was done, because by 1909 it was in a “shocking state of decay,” as described by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which published the following description:

Stripped of all relics and the walls dropping their plaster, the interior presents a lamentable appearance. An architectural firm several years ago took up much of the flooring to study how the structure had been built, and nothing has ever been done to repair the floor, which adds to the general air of decay.

Finally, the full-scale restoration work began around 1911, and it was completed two years later. It was rededicated on October 25, 1913, in a ceremony that was attended by many dignitaries, including prominent Philadelphia businessman John Wanamaker, Mayor Rudolph Blankenburg, US Speaker of the House Champ Clark, and President Woodrow Wilson. The main event was held here in the former House chamber, with Wilson giving a speech that emphasized the role that this building played in the early history of the nation, along with the lessons that modern-day Americans could take from the founding generation.

The first photo was probably taken about a decade or so after the renovation was completed. It shows the view of the House chamber facing southwest, with the buildings on the other side of Sixth Street visible through the windows. At the time, the room was still unfurnished, but in 1934 it underwent further restoration with the installation of replica desks and a new speaker’s rostrum, in order to better reflect its 18th century appearance.

Today, about a century after the first photo was taken, Congress Hall remains an important historic landmark here in Philadelphia. Although overshadowed by the fame of the neighboring Independence Hall, this modest two-story brick building nonetheless played a vital role in the early history of the United States. It is now preserved as part of the Independence National Historical Park, and it is open to the public for free guided tours of both the House and Senate chambers.

Old Bacon Academy, Colchester, Connecticut

The Bacon Academy building at 84 Main Street in Colchester, around 1896. Image from Connecticut Quarterly.

The building in 2020:

Bacon Academy is one of the oldest public high schools in the United States, and the second oldest in Connecticut. It was established in 1803 following the death of Pierpont Bacon, a Colchester resident who bequeathed $35,000 to maintain a school for the town’s residents. At the time, a high school education was rare in the United States, and few towns had a high school, even here in the relatively well-educated northeast. For Bacon Academy, the main purpose was to prepare boys for college, so the school offered what was, at the time, regarded as a well-rounded education. An 1803 newspaper advertisement declared that students would “be accommodated with suitable instruction in Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, the learned Languages and Sciences.” Tuition in 1803 was $2.00 per quarter in the summer, and $2.50 per quarter in the winter.

The school opened on November 1, 1803, here in this brick, three-story Federal-style building. It is situated right in the center of Colchester, on Main Street directly opposite Norwich Avenue. Behind the school, visible in the distance on the left side of the scene, is the town’s old burying ground, which dates back to 1713. The opening of the school was widely reported in newspapers across the region, and the New York Morning Chronicle provided the following description of the building and its location:

A large and elegant brick building is erected for the accommodation of the scholars; being 75 feet in length, 34 feet in breadth, and three stories high. It is divided into a large hall, and convenient apartments for the different branches. . . . Colchester is a very healthy and pleasant town situated on the turnpike road leading from Hartford to New-London, being nearly equi-distant from each. A more eligible situation for an institution of this kind, could not have been chosen.

The first principal of the school was 31-year-old John Adams, a Connecticut native and Yale graduate who had previously taught at Plainfield Academy in New Jersey. He went on to become a prominent educator, serving here in Colchester until 1810, followed by 23 years as principal of Phillips Academy Andover. Later in life he moved west, serving from 1836 to 1843 as principal of Jacksonville Female Seminary, a school that would eventually be incorporated into Illinois College in the early 20th century.

During its first year, Bacon Academy enrolled 206 students. The majority of these were from Colchester, but 63 of them were from out of town. In its early years, the school even attracted students from out of state. Perhaps most notably, this included 11-year-old Stephen F. Austin of Missouri, whose father Moses Austin enrolled him in the school starting in the fall of 1804. Stephen Austin attended the school for the next three years, and he would eventually go on to become one of the founders of Texas and the namesake of its capital city.

Aside from Austin, Bacon Academy saw a number of its other students go on to achieve prominence in the 19th century. These included at least five future governors: William Larrabee of Iowa, Edwin D. Morgan of New York, Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, and William A. Buckingham and Morgan Bulkeley of Connecticut. With the exception of Larrabee, all of these men also served as U.S. senators, and Trumbull had a particularly distinguished career in the Senate, serving from 1855 to 1873. During this time, he co-authored the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery. Other distinguished Bacon Academy students included Eliphalet A. Bulkeley, who became the first president of Aetna Insurance Company, and Morrison Waite, who served as chief justice of the United States from 1874 to 1888.

By the mid-1830s, the school had grown to 425 students, including 137 who were from out of town and 32 from out of state. For the first few decades, the student body consisted of white males, with a separate school here in Colchester to educate African American children. However, at least one African American, the prominent educator Prince Saunders, was associated with Bacon Academy only a few years after it opened. He ran the African American students, and he is said to have taken courses at Bacon Academy, although it does not seem clear as to whether he was formally enrolled at the school, or was taught outside of school by some of its teachers.

In any case, by the 1840s Bacon Academy was racially integrated, and it had begun to enroll female students. This period in the mid-19th century was a high point for the school, which had aspirations of becoming a top-tier college preparatory school similar to Phillips Academy. However, the school ultimately saw a decline in enrollment, in part because of this deviation from its original mission. Unable to compete with the more established private schools, by the late 19th century Bacon Academy had settled into the role of the public high school for residents of Colchester.

The first photo was taken around the mid-1890s, showing the main academy building in the foreground. On the far right side is Day Hall, an Italianate-style building that was completed in 1858 as a church hall for the adjacent First Congregational Church. By this point, the exterior of the academy had seen a few changes from its original appearance, including the door hood above the main entrance and the octagonal cupola atop the building. The photo shows shutters on the windows and a balustrade along the roof, although these may not have been original either; an 1836 engraving of the building does not show either of these features.

This building remained in use by Bacon Academy until 1962, when the school relocated to a new facility. The school subsequently moved again in 1993, to its current site a few miles to the west of here on Norwich Avenue, where Bacon Academy remains the town’s public high school nearly 220 years after it was first established. In the meantime, the old building here on Main Street is still standing, as is the neighboring Day Hall, which was acquired by the school in 1929. The exteriors of both buildings have remained well-preserved over the years, and the only noticeable difference to the academy building in this scene is the lack of shutters or balustrade. Because of its architectural and historic significance, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. In addition, both it and Day Hall are contributing properties in the Colchester Village Historic District, which was added to the National Register in 1994.