Boston's history can be visualized by its architecture. In Building Victorian Boston, the Architecture of Gridley J.F. Bryant, author Roger Reed writes about Boston's Victorian period and the architect who was responsible for many of the buildings of that time. Here is a description of the book:
"Much of Boston's rich heritage of Victorian buildings dates from the mid-nineteenth century when Gridley James Fox Bryant (1816–1899) dominated the profession of architecture in the city. At that time, Boston was undergoing a transformation from a quaint post-colonial town to a rapidly expanding Victorian metropolis. Bryant led this transformation, providing an important link between the earlier architecture of Charles Bulfinch and Alexander Parris and the later work of such practitioners as H. H. Richardson and Peabody & Stearns."
152 of his buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1872.
For my friends who went to Bates, Bryant was responsible for Hathron Hall.
What Was Here is an online tool that lets you explore historical photos with current street views/google maps. Take a look at the Allen House, a Victorian mansion in the South End, from this perspective.