North Market, Boston

North Market in Boston, next to Quincy Market, around 1855. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The scene in 2014:

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These photos show the same scene as the ones in this post, just from a different angle.  The building on the far left of the 1855 photo is the Old Feather Shop, the same one seen in the photo in the other post.  Built in 1680, it was demolished around 1860, soon after the first photo was taken.  Both pictures were taken from right in front of Faneuil Hall (which can be seen on the far right of the 2014 photo), and this area has been a major commercial center since the 1600s, when it was known as Dock Square.  Today, most of the commercial activity centers around tourism, and the location is adjacent to Quincy Market and along the Freedom Trail.  The red brick path of the Freedom Trail can be seen in the foreground of the 2014 photo.

Corner of Lewis & North Streets, Boston

The eastern corner of Lewis and North Streets in Boston’s North End, sometime in the 1860s. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The street corner in 2014:

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This absolutely ancient building in the first photo probably dated to the early 18th century, but it didn’t last for too long after the photo was taken.  The present-day building on the site was completed around 1874, so the days were numbered for the old building by the 1860s.  At that time, the North End was somewhat of a slum, and the building itself looked like it wasn’t in the greatest condition (note the broken windows on the second floor), so its demolition and replacement was probably hailed as a 19th century version of urban renewal.

Old Feather Store, Boston

The Old Feather Store at Dock Square in Boston, around 1860. Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The location in 2014:

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The building in the 1860 photo looks like it belongs in Elizabethan England, not in 19th century Boston.  However, the building actually dates to the same century as Queen Elizabeth – it was built around 1680, and survived until around the time that this photo was taken.  Despite its age and unique architecture, historical preservation was not a major concern in the 1860s, and it was demolished.  At least one of its contemporaries survives to this day, though.  Just a few blocks up North Street (the road in the foreground of the 2014 photo) is the Paul Revere House, which was built around the same time, and is the only remaining 17th century building in downtown Boston.

As an example of the way Boston has expanded in the past few centuries, the Old Feather Store was built right on the waterfront, but by the time it was taken down, it was over a quarter mile from the harbor.  This area was originally known as Dock Square, because of its proximity to the Town Dock.  As a result, it has long been a center of commercial activity in the city.  Although the buildings that replaced the Old Feather Shop are also long gone, there is one commercial building that is in both photos; Faneuil Hall can be seen behind and to the right of the Old Feather Shop, and on the right-hand side in 2014.