Daniel B. Wesson House, Springfield, Mass

Daniel B. Wesson’s house on Maple Street, as it appeared between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The site today:

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The building in the early 20th century was the home of Daniel B. Wesson, who was the co-founder of Smith and Wesson.  Located at 50 Maple Street, at the present-day intersection of Maple and Dwight, it was built in 1898, and was Wesson’s home until he died in 1906.  The house was purchased by a social club, the Colony Club, in 1915, and was used until February 20, 1966, when the building burned and was replaced by the bland, nondescript building that now stands on the lot.

Hampshire County Courthouse, Northampton

The Hampshire County Courthouse in Northampton, Mass., around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same building in 2014:

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The Hampshire County Courthouse hasn’t changed much since 1904, nor has it changed much since it was completed in 1886.  It bears strong resemblance to the Hampden County Courthouse that was built about 12 years earlier, and unlike that building, this one retains its top floor and its dormers adjacent to the tower.  Around the time that the earlier photo was taken, the Clerk of Courts was a local attorney and former City Council member named Calvin Coolidge, who would eventually go on to work a much more notable job in a much larger and more prominent building.   One difference between 1904 and now, although not visible in the photo, is a statue of said former Clerk of Courts, now on the grounds of the courthouse.

First Church of Northampton

The First Church of Northampton, between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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In 2014:

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Built in 1877, Northampton’s First Church hasn’t changed much, although its surroundings are different than they were a century ago.  Notice in particular the absence of trolley tracks or wires and the proliferation of cars.  Nearly three centuries and three church buildings ago, this was the home to one of America’s most prominent theologians, Jonathan Edwards, who was pastor of the Northampton church from 1727 to 1751, and who led the Great Awakening from his pulpit here.  The church building that he built in 1737 was replaced in 1812 by one designed by Isaac Damon, the same architect who designed Springfield’s Old First Church seven years later.  That building burned in 1876, and was replaced by the present structure the following year.

Paul Revere House, Boston

Paul Revere’s House in Boston, around 1898. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The house in 2014:

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Built in 1680, Paul Revere’s house is the oldest building in downtown Boston, and was owned by Paul Revere from 1770 to 1800. He actually added a third floor, as seen in the 1898 photo, but shortly after the photo was taken, the house was purchased by one of Revere’s descendants and restored to its 1680 appearance. Despite all of the modifications, it is estimated that about 90% of the structure is original to 1680, which is impressive, considering how different it looks in the two photos.

John Ward House, Salem, Mass

The John Ward House, at 38 St. Peter Street in Salem, Mass, around 1906. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2019:

The John Ward House is one of the oldest buildings in Salem, having been built in stages between 1684 and 1723. It was originally the home of currier John Ward, and it remained in the Ward family until 1816. It was subsequently used as a bakery, and by the time the first photo was taken in the early 20th century it had become a tenement house. However, in 1910 the house was moved several blocks away, to its current location off of Brown Street, and it was restored to its colonial-era appearance. Here on St. Peter Street, nothing has survived from the first photo, but the John Ward House is still standing at its new location, and it is now owned by the Peabody Essex Museum.

The house at its current location, as seen in 2013:

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Witch House, Salem, Mass

The Witch House, at the northwest corner of Essex and Summer Streets in Salem, around 1901:

The house in 2019:

The Witch House in Salem is one of the oldest houses in Massachusetts, and is the only surviving building in Salem with direct ties to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.  The house was owned by one of the judges, Jonathan Corwin.  It was likely built in the 1660s or 1670s, although some place its date in the 1640s or even earlier.  The 1901 photo was taken prior to its restoration and move; a street widening project necessitated moving it about 35 feet, and the house was restored to its presumed 17th century appearance, which did not include the attached storefront from the 1901 photo.