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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Main Street: 1917

Main Street: 1917

Norfolk, Virginia, circa 1917. "Main Street." The port city's bustling business district. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Gem Dameskeene Razor

I realize I am commenting to a site that may be inactive in 2017, but the Razor ad was relating a new safety razor being safer. The dad holding his child has the razor slipping from his grip and the child is reacting in fright, however it's a safety razor, not likely to cut the child has straight razors did in years prior.

[Inactive? Us? -tterrace]

Five and Dime

Had no idea "McCrory's 5 & 10" was around back then. I would have thought 10 cents got you a lot in 1917.

Main Steet

Way up on Main Street was the Victoria Hotel. Beside that was the Gaiety Theatre, then devoted to the art of burlesque. Rumor had it that sailors called the hotel the "Riding Academy." Alas, all has disappeared with the area bland and dull.

Victoria Hotel

The Victoria was built in 1904 on East Main Street. It was gutted by fire in 1945, and torn down in 1954 under the downtown redevelopment project.

Eerily Upsetting

I'm bothered, to say the least, by the sign ("GEM Da---") on the sporting goods store. It looks like an evil bearded man doing something to/with an infant. Someone please tell me that there's a good explanation for this.

Night View

I want to be there at night when all those arches of lamps are lit up. Must have been an awesome sight!

Lots Of Lights

WOW ! Look at all the street lights this must be a beautiful place to be when the snow falls, Would love to go pack in time just for one day and view this.


I think I see a MacDonald's diner there in the center! I do, I do see a MacDonald's!

Cash register

Just sitting on its dolly, waiting patiently for a guy to hoist it into the NCR wagon. Those things are heavy.

The Iron Arches

On the right, it's a MacDonald's luncheon restaurant! Over 10,000 served! Did they really serve the Big Mac in 1910? Who knew?!

Not a sailor in sight

Sure doesn't look like the Norfolk I remember from the 1960s.

SHORPY OLD 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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