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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 • A CHRISTMAS JOKE WITH A POINT TO IT

Morningside Park: 1904

Morningside Park: 1904

New York circa 1904. "Morningside Park, Cathedral of St. John the Divine under construction." Panorama made from two 8x10 glass negatives. View full size.

 

Still unfinished

http://www.startsandfits.com/divine.html

This site has an article about the cathedral.

Feast for the eyes

Spectacular panorama showing the potential of urban America that was developing at the turn of the 20th century. Now, 100 years later, Google Maps shows the cathedral bordered by a razor-wire-topped chain-link fence. The future did not live up to this photograph.

[The razor-wire fence, a construction barrier put in place after the big fire of 2001, has been removed. - Dave]

There's been a change in plans

What you see in this picture is the east end arch that would eventually support the central dome, and the chapel of St. Saviour, the eastmost part of the structure. The original plan was for a sort-of Romanesque structure, but fashions changed, and in 1911 they hired Ralph Adams Cram, the biggest name in neo-Gothic, to rework the thing into, more or less, the massive Gothic barn it is today. By that point the central dome had been completed, and Cram had several rather different ideas about taking the dome out and replacing it with some sort of central tower along the lines of Washington. They never realized any of them and while they got the nave finished just in time for WW II, after that they pretty much gave up until into the 1970s.

St. John the Unfinished

That was the cathedral's nickname when I first read about it in the mid-'80s. I just checked Wikipedia, and the nickname is still appropriate. If the intent was to imitate a medieval Gothic cathedral, the delayed completion does enhance the authenticity.

Big Arch

Is that big arch on the left part of a cathedral being built, or what?

[Could there be a clue in the photo caption? -Dave]

You might be onto something there, Watson!

And Today

I found that lovely building at West 111th Street and Manhattan Avenue.


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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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