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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

Trip Advisor: 1902

Trip Advisor: 1902

1902. "Mr. Foster's office in Palm Beach." An outpost of the Ask Mr. Foster chain of travel agencies and souvenir shops started in Florida by Ward Foster in the 1880s. 8x10 glass negative by William Henry Jackson. View full size.

 

Timeshift

"Hedonism? Well! Certainly not, Sir!"

Hand Painted Art for sale

Ah, hand coloring a black and white photograph. That is a lost art these days. Very few, if any photographers have the time or patience to sit down with a picture and a large box of watercolor type paints with which to hand color a photograph.

I used to do hand spotting of photos and that was hard enough matching the gray-tones to the photo.

Now it is all computerized as displayed on Shorpy.com. We have some artists who excel at digitally colorizing photographs, such as Don W.

Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers

As a photographer I wish I could go back in time and visit this place. I live near the Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers. They haven't changed much since the old days. Here is the Ocklawaha River today.

Here's the Silver River which starts at Silver Spring and flows into the Ocklawaha.

I fell in love with these rivers about 12 years ago and started photographing the flora and fauna. There is a high concentration of wildlife on these two rivers including rhesus monkeys which in itself is an interesting story as to how they got there. Even with the small boat sometimes it's hard to get through. After a big storm there's always trees blocking the rivers and in the old days they must have had a crew working full time to keep the waterway clear.

[One would be hard pressed to tell them apart. - Dave]

A room loaded with Shorpy fruit

Look at those walls full of photos and those stacks of big brochures (or whatever travel agencies used then). One of the eye catchers for sure is the Ocklawaha Steamer Tickets sign (part of one was used for a window sign of some kind). A photo like this is why Google was invented, sort of, where I found some marvelous prose:

St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers

(Highways and Byways of Florida, 1918)

Palatka is the starting-point of the Ocklawaha steamers. They go south twenty-five miles, then turn west and enter the old forests of the "dark crooked water," which is what the name of the stream means in English. The journey ends at Silver Springs, one hundred and ten miles farther on. Enthusiasts call the Ocklawaha "the sweetest water-lane in the world," and the voyage through this liquid silent forest aisle is full of weird interest. Certainly no trip to Florida is complete which does not include an outing on this romantic stream with its ever-changing scenes and its tonic air laden with the balsamic odors of the forest.

The latter part of the Ocklawaha journey is made at night, and it is then that the river is seen most impressively after a fire of pine knots has been kindled in a big iron box on the top of the pilot-house. This blazes finely, and the light from the resinous yellow flames advances up the dark sinuosities of the stream in a manner that is enchantingly mysterious. The foliage which it touches is magically green, the festooning mosses are transformed to silvered garlands, the tree trunks turn to corrugated gold, and the black slimy stumps become jeweled pillars. When the fire dies down a little the distant scenery becomes indistinct and shadowy, and the great trees are pallid and ghostly. Then fresh knots are thrown in, the fire blazes up, and again the winding forest walls are brightly lighted amid the impenetrable surrounding mirk, while everything is reflected in the smooth water.

Philip Morris ain't here

At first glance, I thought the boy was dressed in a red bellhop uniform like those who used to page people with phone messages at hotels i.e. "Call for Philip Morris!" but on closer inspection he seems to be a messenger or junior assistant of some sort. Also, just think, 109 years ago, somebody cut some lily of the valley out of their garden in the morning and put them in a water glass on their desk and still today they convey the beauty and fragrance of nature, my mom's favorite flower. The posters, postcards, travel photos, etc. pictured would today get you on TV in the Antiques Roadshow and be worth a hefty sum too. Carry on.

Ocklawaha?

Where the heck is Ocklawaha? I might buy a ticket just to find out.

[It is both a town and a river. - Dave]

 
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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