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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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Relics: 1900

Relics: 1900

Philadelphia circa 1900. "Chestnut Street from Ninth." On the left, Wanamaker & Brown ("liveries"), and on the right, offices of the Philadelphia Record (a "newspaper"). 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


Chestnut Street Theater

I am just reading a wonderful book about John Barrymore. His family was steeped in the theatrical world and it all began for his grandmother, when as a 7-year-old prodigy she performed as the Chestnut Street Theatre. She then had another engagement at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre.

For rent

Electric Lights Steam heat
Electric Elevator Svc

Another relic

What's a "Chestnut"?

7:40 a.m.

It must be a Sunday for the street to be so deserted at this time of the morning.

To be well turned out

John Wanamaker and his brother-in-law Nathan Brown opened their first store in Philadelphia in 1861. Following Brown's death in 1865, Wanamaker opened a store at 818 Chestnut, which must be nearby to the building we see here. In the context here, "liveries" refers to clothing, horsey sort of clothing.

Quaint terms

"Livery" and "Newspaper." "Buggy whip" and "Classified advertising."

New view, same intersection

Here is a view looking down Chestnut from 10th towards the post office on 9th. Click to enlarge.


Below is the same view from July of 2006.

One of the little things...

that make Shorpy great.

Where's everyone gone?

I wonder if it is first thing in the morning, or the photographer tried to clear the street first, or what? Before I full-sized it, I couldn't see anyone and it looked kind of creepy, like the show called "Life After People".

Mercury Arc Lamp

Not certain of this, but that Mercury Arc Lamp looks like it used a whole quart or so of highly toxic mercury. That can't be good.

[That's a carbon arc lamp. - Dave]

That fellow

seems awfully intrigued by the Emerson Shoe sign.

Philadelphia Post Office

Street Sweepers wanted,

or some refuse containers are needed on the street corners. Not many people milling about either.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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