Video: Blending Boston’s Historic Places with Modern Day Life in One Cool Then-and-Now Video Tour

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Since its founding in 1630, Boston has been a pivotal center of American and world history, philanthropy, education, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Although many of the most notable changes that took place in Boston over the last century surround its transportation system, it is still one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. Despite the developments in technology and the addition of stylish new buildings, many historic places still stand.

Together with images from the Library of Congress and Google Street View, we compiled an exciting video that showcases Boston’s changing landscape and lifestyle since 1900:


Video Highlights:

Trinity Church Copley Square

While the famous old Trinity Church still stands in Boston, as do many surrounding architectural styles, gone are the streetcars and horse-drawn carts. Today the green space is still there, alongside new sculptures, water fountains, electric parking meters, street lights, and food cart vendors, overlooked by shiny skyscraping office towers.

Tremont Street

Boston’s Tremont Street is similar in layout to what is was like 100 years ago. Yet, new towering buildings stand in the background, and horse drawn buggies have been replaced with buses. Our much less formal dress sense and the presence of street vendors serving frozen slushies suggests we have more free time than we used to.

Boston Public Library & New Old South Church, Copley Square

This view of the Boston Public Library from St. James Street shows how the city has managed to stay relevant and lead with the latest trends, while retaining key historical buildings. Besides the internet and gas powered vehicles, Boston has also invested in developing green spaces, with new trees, and cultivating real world connection with street markets.

Hotel Lenox-Exeter & Bolyston Street

At 11 stories, The Lenox was once the tallest building in Boston, Massachusetts. This historic hotel was the temporary home of Judy Garland, and a favorite with celebrities and affluent visitors. Despite the dense development surrounding the hotel, new green features, and Wi-Fi, The Lenox still boasts its original architecture and wood burning fireplaces.

Causeway Street

Boston’s North Station is an example of some of the more dramatic architectural changes the city has undergone over the last century. The original photo demonstrates the grandness and intricacies of Boston, and the creativity we are capable of. Today, it isn’t nearly as magnificent looking, though it is home to a major train station, as well as Bruins and Celtics games.

Temple Place

This view of Temple Place and Tremont Street shows a classic then and now contrast. On one side we have classic Northeast stone architecture, and its intricate detailing. On the opposing corner the original structure has been replaced with sleek modern glass and metal. It’s also interesting to note the full cycle of introducing gas powered cars, to electric and hybrid ones.

Old State House, Washington Street

Originally built in 1713, the current Old State House is one of the oldest buildings in America. Now a national landmark and museum, it sits atop of a key subway station, surrounded by towering buildings. This site has been rebuilt and renovated multiple times, after having been burned down, and having survived a hurricane in 2005.

New England Conservatory of Music Huntington

The Conservatory appears to have been preserved immaculately for over 100 years. Of course, today the area has been significantly built up. While we have new street crossing lights, sleek new buildings and trendy eateries in the area, the NEC has remained a consistent landmark music school and concert hall since 1867.

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Nadia Balint is a senior creative writer for RENTCafé. She covers news and trends in residential and commercial real estate and their impact on our everyday life, including rental housing, for-sale housing, real estate development, homeownership, market reports, insurance, landlord-tenant laws, personal finance, urban development, economy, sustainability, and social issues. Nadia holds a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. You can connect with Nadia via email.

Nadia’s work and expertise have been quoted by major national and local media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, CBS News, Curbed, The NY Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post as well as industry publications, such as GlobeSt, Bisnow, Inman News, Multifamily Executive, and The Commercial Real Estate Show. Nadia also wrote for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive, HubSpot, and more. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Nadia worked in the legal field, where she gained over 10 years of experience in business, corporate, and real estate law.

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