State Street from Broadway, Albany, New York

Looking west on State Street from near the corner of State Street and Broadway in Albany, around 1902-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2019:

This scene is very similar to the one in the previous post, except these photos were taken a couple blocks further to the east, at the corner of State Street and Broadway. From here State Street, is visible for a quarter mile in the distance as it rises up the hill toward the New York State Capitol. This stretch of road is at the center of downtown Albany, and it has been the site of many historic buildings over the years.

When the first photo was taken, the buildings on the right side of this scene consisted of a mix of late 19th century commercial buildings, most of which were between four and six stories in height. The one outlier here was the nine-story Ten Eyck Hotel, which was built in 1899 and stands in the distance near the center of the first photo.

The buildings in the first photo were occupied by a mix of different businesses. Starting in the foreground, these included the Albany Hardware and Iron Company in the two buildings on the far right, and the Union Trust Company in the ornate light-colored building to the left of it. Further up State Street, the ground floor of the six-story building was occupied by the Cluett & Sons piano store on the right and the William M. Stetson stationery store on the left. Beyond that building, the next two housed a Western Union telegraph office and the Commerce Insurance Company.

Today, more than a century after the photo was taken, hardly any of these buildings are still standing on this side of State Street. The former site of Albany Hardware is now a 12-story office building at 41 State Street, and beyond it most of the other historic buildings on this block were demolished in the mid-19th century to create a surface-level parking lot.

Further in the distance, on the other side of James Street, the 16-story New York State Bank building dominates the center of the present-day scene. It was built in 1927, replacing a much smaller 1804 bank building that is barely visible in the distance of the first photo. However, the facade of the old bank was preserved, and it was incorporated into the State Street side of the new structure.

Beyond the New York State Bank, the next section of State Street has also been completely rebuilt since the first photo was taken. The Ten Eyck, which included a 17-story addition that was built in the 1910s, was demolished in the early 1970s, and the other nearby historic buildings were also gone by this point. In their place is a modern office building at the corner of North Pearl Street, and a Hilton at the corner of Lodge Street.

The only part of this scene that has not undergone dramatic change is near the top of the hill, where both the capitol and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church still stand, along with a row of historic commercial buildings. Closer to the foreground, though, there is only one surviving 19th century building along the entire stretch of State Street between Broadway and St. Peter’s Church. It is a small building, partially hidden by trees in the 2019 photo, but it stands at the corner of James Street. It was built in the mid-1870s for the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, with a Gothic exterior that was designed by prominent architect Russell Sturgis. Perhaps its most distinctive feature is the turret at the corner, which is partially visible in both photos. However, the east side of the building, which faces the parking lot, is a windowless, unadorned brick wall, a reminder that it was once part of a long row of adjoining buildings.

State Street from South Pearl Street, Albany, New York

Looking west on State Street from near the corner of State and South Pearl Streets in Albany, around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 2019:

State Street is the main east-west route through downtown Albany, originally starting at the Hudson River wharves and extending westward up the hill in a straight line toward the state capitol. It provided a direct link between the city’s water and rail transportation and its government institutions, and in the process it passed through the heart of Albany’s central business district, which is shown here in these two photos.

The first photo was taken around 1904, and it shows a busy street scene. Dozens of pedestrians are visible walking on the sidewalks and crossing the street, and there is also a mix of horse-drawn wagons, along with at least three trolleys traveling up and down the hill. Automobiles are conspicuously missing from the scene, but this would not last long. The New York state legislature, meeting in the state capitol at the top of the hill here, had passed the first motor vehicle registration laws in the country in 1901, and by 1904 the state had some 15,550 registered cars on its roads.

The buildings on either side of State Street in the first photo reflect the changes in architectural styles during the late 19th century, along with the city’s growth during this same time. Starting on the far left is the Globe Hotel, which is perhaps the oldest building in the photo. It appears to have been built around the mid-19th century, and by the time the first photo was taken it housed the hotel, along with a number of retail tenants. These included a fruit market at the corner of South Pearl Street, and the photographic supply shop of Finch & Hahn on the State Street side of the building.

Further in the distance, towering above the Globe Hotel, is the Albany City Savings Institution building, which was probably the newest building in the first photo. This large Beaux-Arts building was designed by noted local architect Marcus T. Reynolds, and it opened in 1902 as the city’s first skyscraper. Just beyond the bank is another new building, the Empire Theatre, a burlesque theater that opened here in 1898.

On the other side of State Street, starting in the foreground, is the Tweddle Building. It was built at the corner of North Pearl Street in the mid-1880s, replacing the earlier Tweddle Hall, which had been destroyed in a fire in 1883. Beyond it is the Ten Eyck Hotel, with a painted sign on the side of the building proclaiming it to be “positively fire proof.” The nine-story hotel opened in 1899, filling a void in Albany’s hotel business after the Delavan House burned in 1894. This disaster, which claimed the lives of 16 people, would have still been fresh in people’s minds when the Ten Eyck opened, and likely explains why the owners went to such lengths to advertise its fireproof construction.

Beyond the Ten Eyck, on the other side of Chapel Street, is the Albany Savings Bank. This ornate building was completed in 1875, and it was occupied by the bank until the late 1890s, when the bank moved to a new building on North Pearl Street. The county then purchased the building, and it was in use as county offices when the first photo was taken.

Further up the hill from the bank building are two other commercial blocks, followed by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on the other side of Lodge Street. The main portion of the church was designed by architect Richard Upjohn, who was particularly well-known for his Gothic-style churches. It was consecrated in 1860, but in 1876 the parish added the 180-foot tower, which was designed by Upjohn’s son, Richard M. Upjohn.

At the top of the hill, in the distant center of the first photo, is the New York State Capitol. Construction on the capital had begun in 1867, but it was not completed until 1899, when Theodore Roosevelt was governor. By the time the first photo was taken, Roosevelt had become president, but less than a decade later another politician with the same last name would arrive at the capitol. Franklin Roosevelt served here as a senator from 1911 to 1913, and he later returned as governor, serving from 1929 until he was elected president in 1932.

Today, nearly 120 years after the first photo was taken, the capitol still dominates the background of this scene. It remains in use as the seat of the state government, although it has since been joined by a number of other government buildings, including the 34-story Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, which rises above the roof of the capitol in the present-day photo.

However, most of the other buildings in this scene at the turn of the century are gone now, including everything in the foreground. The Globe Hotel was altered beyond recognition in the early 20th century, and was known as the Arkay Building until the late 1920s, when it was demolished to build the National Savings Bank, which stands on the site today. Across the street, the Tweddle Building was demolished in the mid-1910s, and in its place the Ten Eyck Hotel built a new 17-story skyscraper. The hotel also continued to operate the older Ten Eyck, which became known as the Annex, and both buildings stood here until they were demolished in the early 1970s.

Further in the distance, only a few recognizable buildings from the first photo are still standing, aside from the capitol. On the left, the Albany City Savings Institution is still here, although it was altered in the 1920s with the addition of a large clock tower, and it is now mostly hidden from this angle by the National Savings Bank. Across the street, St. Peter’s Church is also still standing. Unlike the Savings Institution building, it has not been overshadowed by taller neighbors, and it continues to be a very prominent feature here on State Street. It remains an active Episcopalian parish, and in 1980 it was named a National Historic Landmark, becoming one of four Albany buildings, including the capitol, to receive this designation.

Stetson Hardware, Springfield, Mass

Stetson Hardware at 162-164 Boston Road in Springfield, on October 12, 1938. Image courtesy of the Springfield Building Department.

The scene in 2019:

This building was constructed around 1919, at the corner of Boston Road and Jasper Street in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood. At the time, Pine Point was in the process of being developed as a residential suburb, and this section of Boston Road was becoming its main commercial center. This was among the first commercial buildings in this area, and it was built of wood, unlike the brick ones that would be built across the street from here in the 1920s and 1930s.

The building originally consisted of two separate storefronts, with the one on the left at 162 Boston Road, and the one on the right at 164 Boston Road. In the fall of 1938, when the first photo was taken, the storefront on the left was vacant and available for rent, as indicated by the signs in the windows. On the right side, this storefront was occupied by Stetson Hardware, which was owned by Louis C. Stetson. During the early 1930s he had worked as a shipping clerk, but around 1936 he went into business for himself, with a hardware store on Orange Street. He moved his store here to Boston Road around 1937, and according to the sign in the photo he sold paints, varnish, glass, kitchenware, and novelties. However, his business evidently did not last, because it last appears in city directories in 1940, and by 1941 he was listed as working in a warehouse in West Springfield.

By the late 1940s, Stetson’s former store had become A. C. Winckel, a paint store owned by Adam C. Winckel. He died in 1951 at the age of 48, but his widow Ada carried on the business for many years, until at least the mid-1960s. Then, at some point in the second half of the 20th century, the building was heavily altered with a new front facade, along with vinyl siding on the rest of the exterior. Overall, though, it is still recognizable from the first photo, and it stands as one of the oldest surviving commercial buildings in Pine Point.

Mascaro’s Cafe, Springfield, Mass

Mascaro’s Cafe at 752 Boston Road in Springfield, on March 21, 1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Building Department.

The scene in 2019:

This lot at the northeast corner of Boston Road and Harvey Street has been developed since at least 1910, when a house appears here on that year’s city atlas. By the mid-1910s, the property was owned by Pietro Mascaro, an Italian immigrant who lived here with his wife Lena and their sons Antonio and Frank. He died in 1916, but the family continued to own this property for many years, and they operated several different businesses here.

By the time the first photo was taken in 1939, the property had been expanded far beyond the original house, which is barely visible in the distance on the left, behind the Coca Cola sign. At some point around the 1920s, two storefronts were added to the front of the house, along with a gas station on the other side of it, which was run by Frank Mascaro. Then, probably sometime in the late 1920s or 1930s, this section was built further to the east of the house, at the corner of Sewall Street. Unlike the earlier storefronts on the far left of the first photo, which were built up to the sidewalk, most of this section was set back from the road. This was presumably done to allow room for parking, reflecting the growing importance of automobiles by this time.

Although there are no names of businesses visible in the first photo, this section of the building appears to have had at least two different occupants at the time. On the far right side is some sort of a convenience store, with advertisements for Philip Morris, Salada Tea, Orange Kist, and other products visible near the entrance. To the left of it, marked by a Hampden Ale sign, is a bar, which is also variously described as a cafe, a dance hall, a roadhouse, and a tavern in city directories and newspapers of the period. It had been in business as early as 1933, in the final year of Prohibition. Antonio Mascaro received a beer license in May of that year, a little over a month after the passage of the Cullen–Harrison Act, which legalized low-alcohol beer.

Just beyond the building on the far right side of the photo is the house at 22 Sewall Street. At the time it was the home of Antonio Mascaro, his wife Josephine, and their children Rosemary and Peter. He operated the bar, which came to be known as Mascaro’s Cafe, for many years, until his death in 1957 at the age of 67. His son Peter then took over the business and ran it for more than 25 years, before selling it to Mattie’s Cafe in 1984.

Today, more than 80 years after the first photo was taken, this scene has undergone considerable changes. On the far left, the old house has long since been demolished, along with Frank Mascaro’s gas station and the two storefronts, and they were replaced by a more modern gas station. The former Mascaro’s Cafe building in the center of the scene is still standing, and it is still in use as Mattie’s Cafe, although it looks very different from its appearance in 1939. It is difficult to tell exactly when these renovations occurred, but they likely happened around the mid-20th century, and the work included bricking up the windows on the left side, along with adding a new brick facade to the front of the building. Overall, the only building that remains largely the same from the first photo is Antonio Mascaro’s former house on Sewall Street, which still stands on the far right side of the 2019 photo.

Old Meeting House, South Hadley, Mass

The Old Meeting House at the northern end of the town common in South Hadley, around 1930-1937. Image courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections.

The scene in 2019:

Although it is difficult to tell from its current appearance, this modest-looking colonial house is actually the original meetinghouse in South Hadley. It was built around 1732, when South Hadley was still a part of Hadley, and it is likely the oldest surviving church building in western Massachusetts. It is also one of the oldest in the entire state, dating back to a time when New England meetinghouses were typically built without steeples or bell towers.

Present-day South Hadley was first settled by European colonists around the 1720s. These early residents would have been expected to attend church and town meetings in Hadley, but this proved challenging. The town center was eight miles away along rough roads, and South Hadley was geographically isolated from the rest of the town by Mount Holyoke. As a result, the settlers soon requested a church of their own, which was established around 1732. This meetinghouse was constructed around this time, and the building was originally situated about 100-150 feet south of its current location, on what is now the town common.

The first meeting appears to have been held here in March 1733, and the first pastor of the church was Grindall Rawson, who was ordained on October 3, 1733. He was a recent Harvard graduate who was about 25 years old, and five years later he married Dorothy Chauncey, the daughter of Reverend Isaac Chauncey of the Hadley church. During this time, work continued on the interior of the meetinghouse. This was done in several stages, beginning with the installation of nine pews in 1733, and it was not completed until 1744, when the gallery was finished.

It was not uncommon for early 18th century pastors to remain with the same church for their entire ministry career, but this ultimately was not the case for Reverend Rawson. Described in the 1863 History of Hadley book as “eccentric, free-spoken, and rash,” he soon became a source of controversy here in South Hadley. In 1737 a council of local clergymen met to discuss Rawson. Few details survive from this meeting, including where it was held, but one of the attendees was Jonathan Edwards, the famous pastor of the church in Northampton. He served as the scribe of the meeting, and in his memoirs he later wrote that the question at hand was “Whether Mr. R. was qualified for the work of the ministry as to his learning, his orthodoxy and his morals.” The council apparently found no issues with his qualifications, but this did little to appease his parishioners.

In February 1740, the congregation voted in favor of dismissing Rawson. However, he remained in that position for more than a year before, in March 1741, the church reaffirmed their decision and declared that “we have no further service for him in the office of a gospel minister, and that we expect he will refrain from any public acts in that office among us.” Rawson was apparently unfazed by this, though, and he continued to conduct services from the pulpit here throughout much of 1741. Finally, in October the church passed a resolution stating:

As Mr. Rawson has lately in an abrupt manner entered the meeting house and performed divine service, contrary to the mind of this precinct, the committee are directed and empowered to prevent Mr. Rawson from entering the meeting house on the Sabbath, by such means as they shall think best, except he shall promise not to officiate or perform service as a minister, and if Mr. Rawson shall offer to perform service as a minister, the committee shall put him forth out of the meeting house.

This still did not stop Rawson, who took to the pulpit a few weeks later. This time, though, a group of men seized him and forcibly carried him out of the building. The parish subsequently voted to appropriate 10 pounds as a legal defense fund, in the event that Rawson pressed charges against the men involved, but he did not, nor did he make any further attempts to preach here. He did, however, continue to live here in South Hadley for three more years, before accepting a position as pastor of a church in Hadlyme, Connecticut, where he served until his death in 1777.

In the meantime, South Hadley continued to grow in population, and this meetinghouse soon became too small for the parish. As early as 1751 the congregation voted to build a new church, but this caused a new controversy regarding its location. The residents here in the western part of the parish favored a site near the existing meetinghouse, while those in the eastern part—in present-day Granby—wanted the new church in a more central location on Cold Hill. After a decade of wrangling, the western faction finally prevailed, and the new church was built nearby in 1762. That same year, the eastern half of the district was established as a separate parish, and in 1768 it was incorporated as the town of Granby.

In the meantime, once the new church was completed the old building was moved northward to its current location, and it was converted into a house. This was a typical practice in New England during the 18th and 19th centuries, with thrifty Yankees generally preferring to move and repurpose old buildings instead of demolishing them. In the case of this meetinghouse, its relatively small size for a church—only 40 feet by 30 feet—made it well-suited for use as a house.

It is difficult to trace the ownership of the building in the early years after conversion to a house, but at some point in the first half of the 19th century it was owned by the Goodman family. It was then owned by Alfred Judd, who had been living there for “many years” by the time the History of Hadley was published in 1863. In a footnote, the author remarked that it was a “comely dwelling,” and that its old frame “may yet last a century.” More than 150 years later, this prediction that has proven to be a significant underestimate of the building’s longevity.

The 1860 census shows Alfred Judd living here with his daughter Irene, her husband Joseph Preston, and their two young children, Alfred and Joseph Jr. Alfred was 62 years old at the time, and he had just recently been widowed after his wife of 38 years, Mary, died in February 1860. He subsequently remarried to Sophia Preston in 1861, and he appears to have lived here until his death in 1878.

At some point afterward, Judd’s grandson Joseph Preston Jr. purchased the property to the right of the family home and built the Hotel Woodbridge, which later became Judson Hall, a dormitory for nearby Mount Holyoke College. In the meantime, the old house remained in the Preston family for many years. Joseph Jr. died in 1922, but his widow Elmina continued to own it until at least the 1930s, although it seems unclear as to whether Joseph or Elmina actually lived here during the early 20th century, or simply rented it to other tenants.

In any case, the first photo was taken at some point during Elmina’s ownership in the 1930s. By then, the building was the home of the Old Meeting House Tea Room, as indicated by the sign above the front door. It is difficult to determine exactly how much its exterior appearance had changed by this point, but it was clearly different from how it would have looked when it was moved here in the early 1760s. In particular, the wide pediment just below the roof and the pilasters in the corners are most certainly not original; these would have probably been added around the early 19th century, giving the old colonial meetinghouse a vaguely Greek Revival appearance.

In more than 80 years since the first photo was taken, this building has undergone some significant changes, including additions to the left, right, and behind the original structure. The front of the building has also been altered, particularly on the ground floor, but overall it is still recognizable from the first photo. Throughout this time, it has continued to be used as a commercial property, and it is currently the Yarde Tavern restaurant. The second floor of the building was damaged by a fire in April 2019, and these windows were still boarded up when the second photo was taken a few months later, but the restaurant itself was only closed for a few weeks.

Today, the building bears almost no resemblance to the Puritan meetinghouse that Grindall Rawson was dragged out of nearly 280 years ago. However, it despite these changes it still has significant historic value as one of the oldest buildings in South Hadley, in addition to being one of the few surviving early 18th century church buildings in this part of the state.

Main Street from Monument Square, North Adams, Mass

Looking west on Main Street from Monument Square in North Adams, around 1900. Image from Picturesque Berkshire County (1900).

The scene in 2019:

North Adams is one of the newest municipalities in Massachusetts, having been established in 1878, but this area was originally settled more than a century earlier, in the mid-1700s. It was incorporated as the town of Adams in 1778, and over the years it developed into two distinct villages, located about five miles apart along the Hoosac River. Both became important manufacturing centers, but the northern village, shown here in these photos, ultimately outgrew the southern one, and in 1878 it was partitioned off as the town of North Adams.

The first photo was taken around 1900, at the height of North Adams’s prosperity. Between 1880 and 1900 it more than doubled in population, growing from 10,000 to over 24,000 in just 20 years, and in 1895 it was incorporated as a city. This quarter-mile section of Main Street, between Eagle Street and the Hoosac River, became the city’s central business district, and many of the commercial buildings in the first photo were constructed during this time.

This scene would undergo further changes only a few years after the first photo was taken, most notably with the construction of the Dowlin Block and the New Kimbell Building, both of which were completed in 1902. Other buildings would be added over the next few decades, and today many of these buildings are still standing, as shown in the present-day scene.

Starting on the far right of the 2019 photo is the First Baptist Church, which was completed in 1880. At some point the tower on the corner of the building was removed, but otherwise the rest of the church survives with few exterior alterations. Past the church, on the other side of Eagle Street, the corner building in the first photo is either gone or heavily altered, and beyond it is the two-story Mohawk Theater, built in 1938.

From this perspective, the first of the major commercial buildings is the seven-story Dowlin Block, which features an ornate Renaissance Revival-style granite facade. To the left of it is the somewhat smaller Hoosac Savings Bank Building. This four-story block was built around 1884, and it appears in the first photo, where it was much more prominent before the construction of its taller neighbors. On the other side of the bank is the New Kimbell Building, which was built around the same time as the Dowlin Block in 1902. It has Renaissance Revival architecture that is similar to the Dowlin Block, and it stands six stories in height.

Barely visible further in the distance is the Gastlick Building, which was originally constructed in the late 19th century but altered in 1925. It stands next to the Second Blackinton Block, which is located at the corner of Holden Street. This four-story brick Romanesque-style building was completed in 1888, and it also appears in the first photo. Although not visible in either photo, this building is adjacent to the First Blackinton Block, a long Italianate-style commercial building that was built in 1873 and still stands today.

Perhaps the most significant building that no longer survives from the first photo is the Wilson Hotel, whose two towers are visible in the distant center of the scene. Built in 1866, this was the largest hotel in the city until the early 20th century, when it was destroyed by a fire on July 2, 1912. This site, at the northwest corner of Holden Street, is now occupied by the Empire Building, which was built later in 1912.

Overall, many of the buildings on the right side of the first photo are still standing today, alongside other historic building that were constructed within a few years afterwards. However, the left side, on the south side of Main Street, has completely changed. The old buildings here were all demolished by around the 1970s, and they were subsequently replaced by several different one-story commercial buildings and a seven-story hotel, which stands further in the distance at the corner of American Legion Drive.