Park Street Subway Station, Boston (2)

Another view of the interior of the Park Street station, around 1898. Photo from The New England Magazine, Volume 25, Issue 5.

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The station in 2015:

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This photo was taken just across the center tracks from the photos in this post, standing on the edge of the outbound platform facing in the inbound direction.  The stairs in the very distance, which lead up to Boston Common, are the same ones visible in the other post.

As mentioned previously, Park Street is one of the two oldest subway stations in North America, having opened in 1897.  Today, the Green Line platform configuration remains mostly the same, with two island platforms surrounded by tracks on both sides.  The two center tracks lead to a turning loop, which can be used by inbound trains to reverse direction.  Both tracks along the outbound platform are served by all trains; Boston does not have express trains.

Park Street Subway Station, Boston (1)

The Park Street station, around the time that it opened in 1897. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The same view in 2014:

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Although New York has by far the busiest subway system in the country, Boston’s actually came first.  The idea was to relieve congestion on Boston’s surface streets by putting trolleys underground.  Known as the Tremont Street Subway, trolleys entered the tunnel in two separate locations, at the corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets and at the corner of Tremont and Pleasant Streets.  The two lines converged at Boylston Station, and then continued up to Park Street.

Boylston and Park Street were the first two stations to be opened, on September 1, 1897, and consequently they are the oldest subway stations in North America.  The following year, the tunnel was extended to North Station.

Today, much of the original tunnel is still used by the MBTA Green Line, which still runs light rail trolleys, as opposed to the heavy rapid transit trains that Boston’s other subway lines operate.  The branch to Pleasant Street is closed south of Boylston, and the tunnel and stations north of Government Center (originally Scollay Square) have been substantially changed.

As far as the Park Street station, the overall platform configuration remains mostly the same as it was 117 years ago.  However, there have been a number of changes to the station, with probably the most significant one being the addition of the lower level in 1912 for the Red Line, as it is now known.  One of the stairways to the Red Line platforms is visible on the far left of the 2014 photo.  Today, it is one of the main hubs on the Green Line, and is the main transfer point between the Green and Red Lines.

As a side note, both photos were taken from the inbound platform. The station’s layout is unusual in that both platforms have tracks on both sides; these photos face across the two center tracks toward the outbound platform and the stairs leading up to Boston Common.

USS Constitution, Charlestown Navy Yard

The USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, sometime between 1897 and 1906. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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A similar view in 2014:

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The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy, having been launched in 1797 as one of the original six frigates authorized by Congress.  She is also the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, the adjective “afloat” being necessary because of HMS Victory, which was commissioned in the Royal Navy in 1778 and remains so today, although she has been in drydock since the 1920s.

The Constitution played an important role in the early years of the US Navy, particularly in 1812, when she earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” after cannonballs bounced off the strong live oak timbers, giving the impression that she had an iron hull.  She served both in a combat role and also later on as a training ship, although by 1881 was no longer fit for active duty.

It was at this point that the large structure seen in the first photo was built across the top of the ship, and the Constitution was used as a receiving ship to house new naval recruits.  However, the ship was deteriorating, and in 1897 she was brought to Boston, where the future of the then-100 year old ship was in serious doubt.  Some proposed turning the ship into a museum ship, while the Secretary of the Navy suggested sinking her as a target ship.  Eventually, in 1906, the ship was restored and the large structure on top was removed.

Today, the Constitution is still in Boston, and although the navy yard is now a national park, the ship still has an active US Navy crew, who give tours to visitors.  Many of the surroundings are the same; the Bunker Hill Monument is still a prominent landmark, surrounded by Charlestown’s low-rise development, and many of the buildings in the navy yard are still there, including the one that is barely visible behind and to the right of the ship in the first photo; this building is the one that is directly behind the Constitution in the 2014 photo.

State Street from the Armory, Springfield, Mass

The view looking east on State Street from the sidewalk along the Armory grounds, sometime in the late 1800s. Photo from Springfield: Present and Prospective (1905).

The scene in 2019:

The buildings in these photos are the same as the ones in the previous post; the only difference is that they are seen from the opposite direction.  Although these two photos were taken well over 100 years apart, many of the buildings are still there, including the Gunn Block and the two adjacent buildings in the background, which date to the 1830s, and the three buildings in the center of the photo, which likely date to around the time of the Civil War.  Even one of the businesses from the first photo almost made it to the present-day; the sign for William Kavanagh is barely visible on the sign above the awning on the building to the far right.  Today, the building is gone, having long-since been replaced by a newer Kavanagh building, with a newer sign.  However, Kavanagh Furniture closed in 2008, although it was probably the longest-lasting of all of the businesses from the first photo.

 

 

State Street from Walnut Street, Springfield, Mass

State Street looking west from Walnut Street, around 1895. Photo courtesy of James Ward Birchall Collection.

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The view in 2019:

As with the photos in this post, the historic Gunn Block (far left) is visible, along with the other two adjacent buildings, which also date back to the 1830s, making them among the oldest commercial buildings in Springfield; only Byers Block at Court Square and the Guenther & Handel’s Block on Stockbridge Street are of similar ages.  Further down State Street is another historic block of buildings; I couldn’t find specifics on these buildings, but based on the architecture they likely date to around the 1860s.

Corner of State and Walnut Streets, Springfield, Mass

The corner of State Street and Walnut Street, looking east, sometime around 1892. Photo from Picturesque Hampden (1892).

The scene in 2019:

The building on the left in the first photo is the Rockingham House, which is discussed in this post. To the right is the Gunn Block, which was built in 1836 and has served a variety of purposes over the years, originally as a store selling “West Indies Goods” but later as a meeting place, offices, a bar, and apartments. The building is now vacant, but it is owned by the organization Develop Springfield, and will hopefully be restored in the near future.