Fenway Park, Boston (2)

Another view of Fenway Park from 1912, the year that it opened. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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The same view in July, 2011:

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One of Fenway Park’s many quirky features is “Pesky’s Pole,” the right field foul pole that stands a mere 302 feet from home plate, making it the shortest possible home run distance in any MLB park.  Much of this is due to the piecemeal way in which the park was built and modified over the course of 100 years.  See this post for the view of the park from the same spot but looking further to the right.

Fenway Park, Boston (1)

The view of Fenway Park from the right field bleachers, about a week before the beginning of the 1912 World Series. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.

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Fenway Park in July 2011:

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Fenway Park is the oldest MLB park, being several years older than the Cubs’s Wrigley Field, but along the way it has been extensively transformed.  Very little of the park remains from its 1912 appearance; the bleachers on the far right side of the 1912 photo burned in 1926, and in the perfect metaphor for the team itself during this time period, the bleachers lay in the ashes of its former glory until Tom Yawkey purchased the club in 1933.  One of his first moves was to rehabilitate the park, which included constructing the present concrete and steel grandstand in the infield area.  Thus, photos from the 1930’s and later show a ballpark that very closely resembles the Fenway Park that we know today.  Curiously, although the 1912 photo shows a park with just a single deck in the grandstand area, the foundations were built to accommodate a second deck in the event that the team eventually decided to expand the seating.  This is perhaps what ensured the park’s existence into the 21st century; although small and old, it has been able to adapt in ways that most other early 20th century parks were unable to.

National Mall from the Washington Monument

The National Mall, looking toward the Capitol Building, as seen from the Washington Monument between 1906 and 1915:

The scene in 1945. Image taken by Reginald Hotchkiss, courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The scene in 2021:

The National Mall is one of the most-visited places in Washington DC, yet it did not always have its carefully-manicured appearance, as shown in the first photo. Several major landmarks were already standing here along the Mall, most notably the National Museum of Natural History on the left and the Smithsonian Castle on the right, with the Arts and Industries Building just beyond it to the right. Further in the distance of the first photo is the Capitol, with the Library of Congress behind it. However, most of the Mall was still vacant at this point, and it would be many more decades before all of the current Smithsonian museums were constructed here.

The second photo, taken in 1945, shows several newer buildings in this scene, including the National Archives on the far left, the National Gallery of Art just beyond the Museum of Natural History, and the Supreme Court Building behind the Capitol. Aside from these major institutional buildings, though, the Mall area also became the site of many temporary War Department buildings during World War I and II. Some of these can be seen in the second photo, particularly in the lower left and upper middle of the photo. During the first half of the 20th century, the landscaping of the Mall also changed significantly, and in the 1930s a number of elm trees were planted in rows along the Mall, as shown in the second photo.

Today, more than 75 years after the second photo was taken, the Mall is home to even more museums, many of which were constructed on the sites of the temporary wartime buildings. In the lower left corner of the scene is the Museum of American History, and in the upper right is the Hirshorn Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Further in the distance on the left, the National Gallery of Art has since expanded, and now has a second building to the east of its original facility. Despite these additions, though, the scene is still easily recognizable from the second photo, and even many of the elm trees are still standing, despite being threatened by Dutch Elm Disease.

Looking northeast from the Washington Monument

The view looking northeast from the top of the Washington Monument, between 1906 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 1945. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The scene in 2021:

Much has changed in more than a century since the first photo was taken, including the massive complex of government buildings in the foreground, which now house the US Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency. However, some of the landmarks from the first photo are still standing, including most prominently the Old Post Office just to the left of center, which is now the Trump International Hotel. Further in the distance is the Pension Building, which is now the National Building Museum, and in the upper right corner is Union Station. Much closer to the foreground, on the far right side of both photos, is the back corner of the National Museum of Natural History.

White House from the Washington Monument

The view of the White House, as seen from the top of the Washington Monument between 1906 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 1945. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The same view in 2021:

Unlike the view looking slightly northwest of here, there have not been many dramatic changes between these three photos. The White House is there, as are the two wings (although both the main building and the wings have been extensively gutted and remodeled in the intervening century), and the Old Executive Office Building (left of the White House) and the Treasury Building (right of the White House) are still there, as are the landscaping features such as the Ellipse in the foreground.  Otherwise, the appearance of the city, given skyscrapers are not permitted, remains much the same as it did 100 years ago.

Looking northwest from the Washington Monument

The view from the top of the Washington Monument, taken between 1906 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

The scene in 1945. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The same view in 2021:

All three of these photos are taken looking almost directly down Virginia Ave., but other than the street network, not much remains from the early 1900s photo.  As least two buildings are identifiable in both that photo and the 2021 scene: the white building in the lower right, and the building to the right of it (which is barely visible in the first photo).  They are the Organization of American States and the Daughters of the American Revolution buildings, respectively.

Otherwise, the area looks remarkably sparse in the first photo, primarily because most of the land in the foreground did not exist before the 1880s, when the Potomac River was dredged, and the dredged material used to fill in this area to address flooding issues.  The Constitution Gardens, visible in the lower left of the 2021 photo, would not exist for another 70 years.  Shortly after the first photo was taken, the Navy built temporary offices during World War I.  These “temporary” offices, which are shown in the 1945 photo, lasted into the 1970s, when they were demolished to create the pond and parkland visible today.