Trinity Church, Boston

Trinity Church in Boston, in 1920. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

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The church in 2013:

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Located at Copley Square in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, Trinity Church was built between 1872 and 1877, to replace the parish’s previous church, which had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1872.  The church was designed by noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and is generally regarded as his magnum opus.

The surrounding of the church have changed, even though the building itself has remained essentially the same.  Originally, Huntington Avenue (foreground in the 1920 photo) cut diagonally in front of the church; this was changed in 1966, and the former roadway is now part of a park in front of the church.  Behind the church is the Berkeley Building, also known as the Old John Hancock Building, and not to be confused with the John Hancock Tower, which is located immediately to the right of Trinity Church, just out of the picture.

Calvin Coolidge at the White House, Washington DC

President Calvin Coolidge on the South Lawn of the White House in 1925. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Photo Company Collection.

Presidents

The South Lawn in 2012:

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In my previous post on the White House, I mentioned some of the changes that have occurred to the building since it was first occupied by John Adams, so I’m not going to go into great detail about the structure itself.  What I do find interesting about these two photos is not the building itself, but rather the people in the photos.  President Coolidge is clearly visible in the first photo, but look carefully at the second photo – President and Mrs. Obama are sitting on the second floor balcony, right between the two middle pillars.  So, not only do these two photos document changes in the building, in transportation (note the truck to the right of Coolidge, compared to the SUV on the left-hand side of the 2012 photo), and in presidential security (note the lack of Secret Service agents in Coolidge’s photo); they also document two presidents, who served 80 years apart, and who held very different political views, but who nonetheless occupied the same office and the same building.

Samuel Hartwell House, Lincoln, Mass.

The Samuel Hartwell House, in Lincoln, Mass, in 1961. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey Collection.

Lincoln

The scene in 2013:

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Located along the Battle Road in the Minuteman National Historical Park, the Samuel Hartwell House was buit in the 1700’s, and was occupied by Samuel Hartwell during the battles of Lexington and Concord, when the British forces marched to and from Concord past the house.  The house was used as a restaurant from 1929 until 1968, when it burned.  All that remained was the central chimney and the cellarhole; the National Park Service later built the frame and roof in the style of the original building.

Old Corner Bookstore, Boston

The Old Corner Bookstore in Boston, around 1865. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The building in 2014:

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Once a meeting place for authors such as Longfellow, Emerson, Dickens, and Hawthorne, the Old Corner Bookstore is now a place to grab a burrito.  Present use aside, the building has remarkably survived over 300 years in downtown Boston.  Built in 1712 as an apothecary shop, it was later used as a bookstore in the 19th century, when the aforementioned authors were known to frequent it.  Today, it is a landmark along Boston’s Freedom Trail, and is one of the oldest buildings in Boston.

Robbins Reef Light, New York Harbor

Robbins Reef Light in New York Harbor, in 1951. Photo courtesy of United States Coast Guard.

Lighthouses

The lighthouse in 2012:

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Built in 1883 to replace an earlier structure, Robbins Reef Light is situated in New York Harbor, near the route of the Staten Island Ferry, which is where the second photo was taken.  Now deactivated, the lighthouse has clearly seen better days, especially when compared to the 1951 photo.  However, in 2011 it was sold to a museum in order to preserve the historic lighthouse.

Court Square, Springfield (5)

Court Square in Springfield, sometime in the 1860s or early 1870s. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The same scene in 2013:

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Court Square has been the center of activity in Springfield since its founding.  The first meeting house was built just to the left in the foreground, and all of the subsequent churches have been built on Court Square.  The square was established as a park in 1821, two years after Old First Church was built.

The building on the right-hand side of the photo is the old Hampden County Courthouse, which was built in 1821 and used as a courthouse until the 1874 courthouse was built just to the left of Old First Church. The 1874 structure is still in use as the juvenile and housing court, but the preesent-day courthouse is visible beyond and to the right of the church in the 2013 photo.  The old 1821 courthouse was later used as an Odd Fellows hall, and was demolished at some point in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The small building in between was the church’s chapel, which was replaced by the present-day brick structure in 1874.