Cemetery Avenue, Springfield, Mass

The road to Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, Mass, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The road in 2014:


Both views here show the road leading to Springfield Cemetery from Maple Street, with the first photo showing the arch from this post.  This main entrance to the cemetery was designed by Reverend William B. O. Peabody in 1845, and today this road is still the way in and out of the cemetery, but there are some dramatic differences.  The arch is gone, as are the white picket fences, replaced with chain-link fences, and the narrow, rutted dirt road is now paved with asphalt.  Today, there are small trees along either side of the road, but they pale in comparison to the ones that once formed a canopy of branches over the road; they were probably the same trees that Peabody himself had planted some 60 years earlier.

Springfield Cemetery Arch, Springfield, Mass

The arch at the entrance to Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Mass, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The scene in 2015:


Springfield Cemetery is one of those places that is hard to find unless you’re looking for it.  In fact, it was hard to find on my first visit, and I was looking for it.  Once in the cemetery, it’s hard to tell that you’re in the middle of a cemetery, and this was done intentionally.  Modeled after the beautifully-landscaped Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass., Springfield Cemetery demonstrates a similar desire to create a peaceful, park-like setting.

As seen in the first photo, visitors to the cemetery once passed under the dramatic stone arch, which was built in 1845, just a few years after the cemetery opened.  I don’t know when or why the arch was removed, but my guess is it probably had something to do with traffic concerns; getting modern vehicles through it would probably be a tight f

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Boston (3)

Another view from Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in the North End, around the 1880s or early 1890s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.


The cemetery in 2014:


The house in the background is the Johnson-Singleton House, and was built in the mid 1700s.  Located on Charter Street, it and the surrounding buildings were demolished in the 1890s to create Copp’s Hill Terrace, a public park between Charter Street and Commercial Street.  Boston Harbor is in the background, but it is obscured by buildings in the first photo and trees in the present-day photo; the only hint of its presence is the tip of the masts of a sailing ship in the first photo.

Copps Hill Burying Ground, Boston (2)

The view looking toward Boston Harbor and the Charlestown Navy Yard from Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in the North End, around 1898. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.


The same scene in 2014:

Aside from the missing wrought-iron railing around the tomb in the foreground, not much has changed in the cemetery in the past century or so.  Even the gate and the fence around the cemetery are the same. The background is different, but it’s hard to tell with the tree blocking the view.  Most of the navy yard buildings are still there, although it is no longer an active military facility.

See this post for another scene in Boston’s second oldest cemetery.

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Boston

Copps Hill Burying Ground, around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The cemetery in 2014:


It’s almost a little eerie to see how little the cemetery has changed in the past 110 years.  Many of the headstones are even still tilted the same way as they were in 1904, and a few of the trees are still there; the tall, skinny tree in the 1904 photo just to the left of the corner of the building in right-center appears to be the same one that is there today.

The cemetery is located just up the hill from Old North Church, and is a stop on the Freedom Trail in Boston’s North End.  Although it doesn’t have as many famous interments as the Granary Burying Ground, there are still some notable people buried here, including Puritan ministers Increase and Cotton Mather, and Edmund Hartt, a shipbuilder whose most famous work, the USS Constitution, still sits right across the harbor from here.

Park Street Church, Boston (2)

Park Street Church with Old Granary Burying Ground, sometime in the 1860s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.


The scene in 2011:


As mentioned in this post, which shows the view of the church from the opposite side, Park Street Church was once the tallest building in the United States, from its construction in 1810 until 1846.  It remained the tallest building in Boston until around the time that the first photo was taken.  The tallest building in Boston is also visible in the 2011 photo – the John Hancock tower, which was built over 100 years after the first photo was taken.

The church itself hasn’t changed much, and neither has the Old Granary Burying Ground next to it.  The cemetery was opened in 1660, and many notable figures from the Revolutionary War period are buried there, including John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Robert Treat Paine, and the victims of the Boston Massacre.