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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • NORWAY IN SEPTEMBER, c. 1920s

Baywatch: 1908

Baywatch: 1908

Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1908. "Hotel Westminster." Equipped with a bevy of bay windows as well as the de rigueur roof garden restaurant. View full size.

 

+105

Below is the same view from May of 2013.

Mansard Mania

There was a very interesting article in the NY Times about the trend of mansard roofs.

It's surrender to the ordinary

But at least Trinity Church is still there.

That has to be

One of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen. Seriously. I think it's an eyesore.

Must have been one heck of a sale

Down at "Statuary R Us" - I count 47 between the first, second and top floors, and that's just the ones that can be seen in this view! May be this was the building that inspired Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead."

Timeless

Fashions change after five years, automobiles after ten, buildings and signage after twenty.

Yet the humble fire hydrant remains always in style.

Simply hideous

Still, this does demonstrate that, at least once-upon-a-time, there existed some city fathers who actually stuck to their guns on city height ordinances. These days, far too many turn a blind eye to developers who ignore zoning laws and, needless to say, height restrictions simply don't exist, it seems.

I hope someone is able to locate a photo of what it looked like before the top was sheared off.

It is difficult to imagine the building being LESS hideous.

Future Site of the John Hancock Tower

This hotel sat at the southeast corner of Copley Square, where I.M. Pei's John Hancock Tower (the one that was bedeviled by falling window panes) now stands. That's a corner of the porch of Trinity Church (H. H. Richardson, 1872-1877) at the left.

A little off the top

This hotel was famously subjected to some trimming after it was found to exceed the maximum height for buildings in the Back Bay (this was in Copley Square, you can see part of Trinity Church on the left). Which is too bad -- the decoration at the top was beautiful. Ironically, after the hotel was demolished, the John Hancock tower was built on that site -- it's 60 stories high.

Egad

How would you like to have been the draughtsman who had to delineate those elevations? Geeeesh, so much junk to draw. Take a month of Sundays.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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