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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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Bridges of Pittsburgh: 1905

Bridges of Pittsburgh: 1905

Circa 1905. "Pittsburgh from Mount Washington -- Monongahela River with Smithfield Street Bridge and Pan Handle Bridge." Panorama made from two 8x10 inch dry plate glass negatives. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Jim Crow

Of interesting note is the combination and coach in the yard near the Atlantic (4-4-2) locomotive. Though more than likely they are currently in storage, it's probable that the cars came off a train oriented like that. You saw that type of orientation quite often in the time of segregation, with black riders being placed in the section forward of the baggage compartment, and whites riding in the rest of the train. This gave rise to calling the orientation "Jim Crow." It would later be applied to special "Jim Crow" cars which had the baggage compartment in the middle of the car and passengers on either end.

The little engine

is a 4-4-2, presumably a P&LE class E-1 engine.

Air Quality

Measured not in picograms per cubic liter, but in lbs. of cinder per cubic foot. Holy moley - that is dirty-ass air!

LOTS to LQQK at!!!

That is just a totally awesome photo right there with lots and lots of stuff to look at. Just the railroad stuff (my favorite subject) can amuse one for hours. All those passenger and freight cars and rail served industries and in 1905 they probably kept track of where everything was and where it was going than they do now with computers, GPS tracking and less rolling stock and rail served industry!

In looking at the sky, though, one should be glad we DO have an EPA now. Of course, I suspect there may be just as many pollutants in the air now, it's just that we have cleaned them up so that you can't see them or smell them as well.

[Your suspicion is incorrect. The air here was much dirtier a century ago. - Dave]

I suspect you're right. --RJ--

The Hill

Great shot of the East side of the city. Long before Boulevard Of The Allies and the Parkway took over the landscape. Those barren hills to the North are now home of Pittsburgh University. And there's a great bike trail where those rail cars and the mill once sat. This is all less than a mile from my place. I never get tired of looking at the old shots of this city and seeing how it has evolved into what it is today.

Topography underneath the city

What I love about this shot is you can see the topography that lies beneath all the buildings of Pittsburgh today.

Little engine that could

The steam locomotive bottom left has me wondering. Upon magnification it appears to be numbered 301, but can't quite make out the number, railroad initials or wheel arrangement. If this is the Monongahela Railroad the initials could be PRR or P&LE. They did acquire two class D-3 locos in 1904 and 1905 with a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement AND they were numbered 301 and 302. Then there was a 2-8-0 arrangement purchased in 1903 if the number is 201. Oh well, regardless of identity it certainly looks like an "engine that could" do its duty.

 
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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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