Kibbe House, Wilbraham Mass

The Gideon Kibbe House on Main Street in Wilbraham, seen in an undated photo probably taken in the late 19th century.  Photo courtesy of the Wilbraham Public Library.

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The house in 2015:


This historic farmhouse on Main Street in Wilbraham was originally owned by Gideon Kibbe, a Revolutionary War officer who built the house in 1810 for his son, who was also named Gideon.  The younger Gideon married his first wife, Fidelia Munn, in 1809, so the house was likely a wedding gift for the young couple.  Gideon was a doctor, and practiced medicine in Wilbraham for neary 50 years.  He died in 1859 at the age of 80, but the genealogical record indicates that he experienced plenty of tragedies along the way.  Gideon and Fidelia’s first son was born in 1810, probably in this house, but died just over a month later.  Their other son was born and died in 1814, the same year that Fidelia died, possibly a result of childbirth complications.  In between, they had two daughters, both of whom died before their mid-30s.  Dr. Kibbe outlived all four of his children, and he also outlived his second wife Chloe.  They were married in 1815 and apparently had no children, and she died in 1858, around six months before Dr. Kibbe died.

By the time the first photo was taken, the house had gone through several owners since Dr. Kibbe’s son-in-law William Gilbert inherited it, but it probably looked very much the same then as it did when the young country doctor and his wife first moved in nearly a century earlier.  Today,  the exterior of the house remains nearly unchanged, and it is one of many historic 18th and early 19th century farmhouses along Main Street in Wilbraham.

Dwight House, Springfield Mass

The Dwight House on Howard Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The scene in 2015:


The scene in 2023:

This scene is soon to change even more dramatically than it did between the first two photos – all of the buildings in the 2015 scene are within the footprint of the planned MGM casino.  Most of the buildings will be demolished, except for the old MassMutual building in the background.  Strangely enough, the building in the old photo will end up outliving almost all of the ones in the present-day photo; its former site is now a parking lot across Howard Street from Red Rose Pizzeria, but the building itself was dismantled and moved to Deerfield, where it sits on Old Main Street in Historic Deerfield.

The house in the first photo, the Dwight House, was built in 1754.  It was originally owned by Colonel Josiah Dwight, and later by his son, Colonel Timothy Dwight.  It was originally located on Main Street, but was moved to Howard Street around 1890, where it was photographed in the first view here.  By the 1930s view, it was divided into a duplex and was used as a tenement, and at this point was probably the oldest building in the city.  However, developers were eyeing the property, so in 1950 it was dismantled and moved to Deerfield, as seen in the photo on the Historic Deerfield website.  This arrangement preserved the building, but it also creates the odd situation of a city’s oldest building being located over 30 miles from the city.

2023 update: The casino was built on this site soon after the second photo was taken, as shown in the third photo.

95-99 Elliot Street, Springfield, Mass

The building at 95-99 Elliot Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of Springfield Preservation Trust.


The building in 2014:


Known as the Edward B. Barton House, this duplex at the corner of Elliot and Salem Streets was built in 1887.  It was originally home to Edward B. Barton, a traveling shoe salesman, and William H. Wright, the owner of Massasoit Cigar Manufactory and Store.  Today, aside from a few minor changes with the porches, the house doesn’t look all that different from its appearance in the late 1930s.  Like other historic properties on Elliot Street, it is located within the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District.

Coolidge Family at Plymouth, Vermont (2)

Calvin, Grace, and John Coolidge at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont, probably in August, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.


The scene in 2014:


In the 1924 scene, President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge are walking toward their car, with their son John walking behind them.  It’s the same car as the one in this post, but it doesn’t appear to be taken at the same time as that one, since all of them are wearing different clothing.  I don’t know where they are heading, but probably not anywhere too formal, given that John is wearing overalls.  Today, the scene hasn’t changed much, although sadly there are no antique cars parked in front of the house anymore.

Coolidge Family at Plymouth, Vermont (1)

Grace, John, and Calvin Coolidge at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont, probably in August, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.


The scene in 2014:


The 1924 photo in this post was probably taken at about the same time as this one, when John Coolidge (center) was stacking kindling at his grandfather’s farm in Plymouth, Vermont.  Standing on either side of him are his parents, Calvin and Grace Coolidge.  Today, the barn doesn’t look much different, aside from the ramp leading up to the door.

Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford at Plymouth, Vermont

From left to right, John Calvin Coolidge, Sr. (President Coolidge’s father), President Calvin Coolidge, a bucket, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison, at the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont, on August 19, 1924. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.


The scene in 2014:


As mentioned in this post, three industrial giants of the early 20th century stopped in Plymouth, Vermont in August 1924 to visit the president.  Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Harvey Firestone (not pictured) were traveling around the country on a camping trip, using cars to travel from place to place to promote the many recreational opportunities that cars provided.  During their brief stay in Plymouth, Coolidge presented Ford with a sap bucket that had belonged to his great-great grandfather; the presentation ceremony was recorded in the photo above, and also in this film, starting at about the 3:18 mark.