Then and Now: West Broadway, Fairfield, IA

July 3, 2011

Before and After Fairfield Iowa street, West Broadway.

Then and Now: West Broadway Avenue, looking east toward the Square from North 4th Street.

Above: In this photograph from ca. 1907, the avenue is unpaved, and piles of horse-dung appear to have been carefully deposited down the center and north side of the road, but the fire hydrant, sidewalks, lawns, regal trees and splendid residences leave no doubt that West Broadway is a civilized neighborhood. At far right is an ornate residence at No. 308 West Broadway, which Oscar Herring says “was built by Marshall S. Crawford in 1873 and rebuilt in 1880 by J. C. Thorne and after its partial destruction by fire in 1905 again rebuilt.” He adds that the property was “conveyed to Parsons college on the annuity plan” by a daughter-in-law of J. C. Thorne. (Oscar Herring, “The Homes of Fairfield,” Fairfield Ledger, Jan. 6, 1933, p. 4.) J. C. Thorne sold dry-goods on the north side of the square at 59 East Broadway from 1880 for more than thirty-one years.

Below: In 2011, the avenue is paved; all evidence of the horse has given way to the ubiquitous automobile; a stop-sign now appears on the northeast corner, from which the fire hydrant has migrated to the southeast corner; the exuberantly turreted Queen Anne at 308 W. Broadway is now a parking lot, while the old corner house at 312 West Broadway (out of the picture to the right) has been replaced by the yellow bungalow at 310 with another parking lot at the corner — but the trees have grown even more magnificent; the orderly sidewalks and lawns remain, and most of the rest of the houses down the row east from 306 W. Broadway on are virtually unchanged from a century ago.

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