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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 • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

The Flatiron: 1903

The Flatiron: 1903

The Flatiron Building circa 1903, with Broadway on the left and Fifth Avenue on the right, and lots of street traffic all around this early skyscraper shortly after its completion. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Cable cars, absolutely!

The streetcars visible are all cable cars.

The Metropolitan Street Railway main line ran along Broadway from Battery Place up to 7th Ave, and then along 7th to 59th Street at Central Park. One of its branches ran along 23rd Street to Lexington Ave (right in front of the Flatiron here) and up to 105th street.

[These are electric streetcars. The traction line on Broadway was converted to electric power in 1901. Below, news item from May 27, 1901. - Dave]

Have You Noticed?

In just about any early photo of the Flatiron Building you can see one or more brave souls roaming around on the lower ledges. I suppose today that'd be the Designated Smoking Area!

Manhattan Traction

Here's the Cable Building at Broadway and Houston Street in Manhattan. Built in 1893 to turn the cables of Manhattan's traction cars, which first started running in the mid-1880s. The basement housed the steam engines and cable wheels.

[An impressive infrastructure that was phased out in favor of electric streetcars in the early 1900s. - Dave]

A wonder of the age

What a great shot but I have to wonder; what makes all those trolley's go? No overhead wires but it seems a slot between the tracks. Cable cars?

[They're electric streetcars. The power supply is underground. - Dave]

Pach Brothers, Photographers

At least five NYC locations since 1867 for these portrait photographers of some repute. The last shop closed in 1947. The studio here was 925 Broadway. The retail operation in the building was a firm called Van Gaasbeck Oriental something. The building still stands; the ground floor houses a Restoration Hardware that is usually deserted.

Thanks

Always a treat to see another shot of this iconic building as it was intended to look.

What a Beauty!

As much of a beauty now as it was in 1903!

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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