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About the Photos

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 • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Nantasket Beach: 1905

Nantasket Beach: 1905

Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts, circa 1905. "Atlantic House and surf bathers." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

The Shorpy Curse!

Another Grand Building destroyed by fire!

Canoe

Wonder how the canoe would handle the small surf? Interesting choice of seaside watercraft.

Sea Bathing Absolutely Safe


How to See Boston: A Trustworthy Guide Book, 1895.

Boston Harbor

Nantasket Beach is reached from Hull by the steamboat crossing Hingham Bay and ascending the serpentine Weir River; or by a railway, running along the sea-bounds. It is a fine expanse of gray sand, several miles long, between the ocean and the harbor, beaten by a light surf, and affording opportunity for safe bathing. Above the high-tide line are groups of hotels, restaurants, chowder-houses, and bathing-houses, where Anglo-Saxon-Celtic-Latin-Slav Boston sends tens of thousands of her citizens on torrid summer days. It is a grand place for "a good time" in a democratic way.


United States Investor, June 28, 1913.

Atlantic House

Nantasket Beach, Mass.

One Hour from Boston by Boat or Train.

Rates: $5 per day and upwards

One Hundred Feet Above Sea Level.

Sea Bathing Absolutely Safe.

Address Linfield D. Damon, Manager

I was just at this beach

I was just at this beach last weekend. Aside from the attire and the buildings, it looks much the same. It's known for its dramatic variation between high and low tides. At low tide (depicted here) the beach is at least a quarter-mile wide; at high tide everyone is crowded up against the seawall just beyond the right edge of the frame here. On the other side of that (and the main road) would have been the famous Paragon Park.

Surf Nantasket

Fifty or so years after this photo was taken, Boston's iconic DJ Arnie Ginsburg would be hosting record hops at the Surf Nantasket. Arnie's now retired to the coast of Maine. Boston folks still remember Arnie at the Surf Nantasket.

Great Hotel Destroyed

In the late 19th century, The Atlantic House was the most famous summer hotel in New England due to its many and varied notable guests. Sarah Bernhardt, Wallis Simpson, President William McKinley and opera star Enrico Caruso, who gave two performances here, all enjoyed the fine accommodations the Atlantic House offered. Conveniences for guests included stairs directly to the beach and bath houses directly on the beach. The 175 room hotel burned to the ground during a blizzard on January 7, 1927.

My New Wallpaper

I think this might be my favorite beach shot to date. There's so much to love. The grand hotel, the beach houses, the Edwardian attire, the couple holding hands in the surf, the little kids wading.

Skinny Dipper!

Well, can't tell for sure; maybe that kid has on shorts, but considering the usual attire of the period, even that'd be pretty darn skinny!

[He is shockingly shirtless. Avert your gaze, ladies. - Dave]

1879 Engraving

Atlantic House on the left. Click to enlarge.

Looks Like Sand

Definitely sand on the left. Possibly Easter Sunday.

Atlantic House

The name of the hotel is in the caption -- Atlantic House. And yes, it burned to the ground, in January 1927. It was built in 1877 by John Damon and later enlarged to about 175 rooms. Most of the site is now occupied by the Atlantic Hill Condominiums.

I love the beach scenes but

All I can think of is the uncomfortable ride home with sand in my bathing suits. I can't imagine the level of discomfort these people felt. I do love seeing people relaxing and enjoying themselves though.

Great Hotel

I know nothing about the hotel resort on the hill but if it's like any of the other hotels we've seen pictures on Shorpy of, I can guess it was probably destroyed in a fiery disaster.

 
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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