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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Melancholy of a Street: 1900

Melancholy of a Street: 1900

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1900. "D.M. Ferry & Co. seed warehouse." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Nothing is left standing

except the two-story building at far right that is now 349 Monroe Street. Currently home to an Irish pub called The Old Shillelagh.


Monroe (Croghan) on the left and Brush on the right.

[Street signs in the Shorpy photo say Champlain (now East Lafayette) and Brush. - Dave]

View Larger Map

I see that, now. I wasn't able to get a better image of the street signs. According to an entry in Google Books, the location was the east side of the block bordered by Croghan (now Monroe), Lafayette, Brush and Randolph.

The building on Monroe (the middle of the three) near Beaubien greatly resembles the D.M. Ferry & Co. building, minus the basement windows.

Good Grief

Google "D.M. Ferry & Co" and you will get page after page of entries on/for reproductions of this company's art/advertising.

As to the pictured building: on January 1, 1886 the company's original 4 story building, containing about 5 acres of storage, burnt to the ground. A new 6 story building was erected in 1887, on the site of the one destroyed.

"At least three people"

C'mon, I've been here for three hours and I found only two, give us a hint.

Black Thumb

There appears to be a sizable rectangular grass patch on the sidewalk to the left of the building. It is a sad looking stretch that runs the length of the property. Seeing the open windows, it is a warmer time of the year. My point here is why are there no blooms. With a building full of flower seeds they really could have made a statement. We need someone on their payroll, with a watering can and some imagination, down there a few times a day.

Seedy Reading

Here's how you got through the winter back before TV.

Depth of Field

The out-of-focus at the edges is strange. It might be a small depth of field from a huge lens opening in the camera, which is what it seems to be.

Or it might be a lens flaw at the edges in either camera or enlarger.

[There is no enlarger -- we're looking at the negative. These 8x10 cameras seemed to have had relatively shallow depth of field. Anything closer than about 50 feet is generally a blur if the background is in focus. - Dave]

After the apocalypse

Nary a human in sight.

[There are at least three people in this picture! - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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