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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

West End Trust: 1900

West End Trust: 1900

Philadelphia circa 1900. "West End Trust Co. building." This could be the corporate headquarters of Harry Potter Inc. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

 

Adoration

So I've been visiting this site for years, I love it, but up until now I've remained a silent participant. This photo pushed me over the edge and I had to register in order to voice my absolute adoration (yes) for this building! Hats off to you guys, when you do it, you do it in style!

Does anyone know if this building is still standing?

Textile humor is different

Those descriptions on the Cotton Yarn Salesmen's menu are real knee-slappers.

[It's warped. - Dave]

Kugler's Menu

The following includes a 1910 menu for Kugler's Restaurant. The alternate descriptions allude in some cryptic way to textile jargon.


America's Textile Reporter, March 24, 1910.

Cotton Yarn Salesmen's Banquet

"A Night in Bohemia, or Why Go to Allentown?" was the legend on the cover of the menu of the annual banquet of the Cotton Yarn Salesmen's Association which took place at Kugler's Restaurant, Philadelphia, on last Saturday night, and there is certainly no need of any one going to Allentown or anywhere else as long as such a good time can be had in Philadelphia.

Good fellowship was the keynote of the occasion. From the time the members sat down, about seven, until they left, shortly before twelve, there was something each and every minute to keep the attention engaged.

Everyone who has been in Philadelphia knows what Kugler's can do in the way of a feed, and by this Banquet in particular Kugler's has established a new standard of excellence. The menu given below only partially tells the story, for no words can give an adequate description of how good the dinner was.

Here is the menu just as printed and only those who have eaten the viands named cooked in true cotton yarn style really know what they ought to taste like.

Menu.

Manhattan Cocktail (75% mixture)
Rockaway Oysters (2% off for shells)
Celery (unbleached)
Olives (net weight)
Cream of Lettuce Soup (well carded)
Filet De Sole, Normandy (well-water baned)
Chicken Croquettes (nutaper cones)
Peas (cross dyed)
Filet of Beef with Mushrooms (roller cut)
Parisienne Potatoes (mercerized)
Lima Beans (gassed)
Lettuce Salad (free of specks)
Roquefort and Cream Cheese (binder warp)
Neapolitan Ice Cream (a la random)
Cakes (all mixtures)
Coffee (fast black)
Wurtzburger (wet twist)
Cigars (rope twist)

The 56 members and guests present were grouped at small tables in the large private dining room on the third floor. The decorations of evergreens were simple and effective and the best part of the whole affair was its lack of any formality. Those who were not well acquainted got acquainted at once. The fact that there were no set speeches kept any one from getting nervous, but about every one present was given a chance to say a few words.

An orchestra added to the pleasure of the occasion and when the guests were not eating they were singing the popular songs, the words of which were printed on the menu.

The Phila. North American

There is special meaning to the billboard touting the North American - and its direction (pointed across the street to City Hall). During the 1900s, the North American was transformed from a minor paper with a few thousand subscribers to one of the most popular papers in town. During that time, its editors backed populism and reform movements, while decrying machine politics. For most of the decade, its views were at odds with the mayors and department heads in City Hall. In July 1908, after the "machine" regained control of City Hall with the election of Mayor John Reyburn, Reyburn swore out criminal warrants charging four editors and three cartoonists from the North American with libel. Reformers bailed them all out.

Backside of Wal Mart?

Does anyone have an idea of what that massive block wall is between the two high rises?

North American

"It Is The Best Today - It Will Be Better Tomorrow," or at least until 1925, when it apparently ceased publishing.

Vestibules

The jutting entrances on the storefronts to the right and also on the bank building are vestibules, a double door entrance used in the winter to keep in the heat and keep out the cold when people are coming and going. They are temporary structures which can be removed when milder weather arrives.

Selective sun

Apparently, the sun shone only on the twelfth floor, since there are no awnings on any of the other windows.

Stairway to Heaven

Wow. This one really takes the cake. Faces peering out of windows, looming black empty panes just below Howson Patents, a stairway behind the restaurant on the left that appears to go straight up to nowhere. Even an early "ghost ad" for Lileks. Something going on at the fire hydrant but can't make it out. And what are those little jutting entrances all about on the buildings to the right? The very narrow building with the cuppola. If that's what it's called. Why did they build such a skinny thing? After all these years of Shorpy, you can still provide a great new favorite! Thanks Dave.

>> The very narrow building with the cuppola. If that's what it's called.

[Namesake of Francis Ford Cuppola. -Dave]

Ritz Carlton

This building, at the SW corner of Broad Street and Penn Square was across from City Hall. It was designed by architects Furness & Evans and was replaced in the 1920s by offices for the Girard Trust Bank, now made over into the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

I'll have a pint, please

Although I rarely go a day without checking Shorpy, I'm normally not so nostalgic as to want to go back in time. Life was simpler, you could leave your doors unlocked, street crime hadn't been invented yet, blah blah blah... I'll gladly stay in our modern world, with its antibiotics and labor-saving devices, and gaze upon the past through the window of the Internet.

I would make a momentary exception to step into The Keg and order a pint of Tannhaeuser. I'd love to taste what America drank in the days when microbrew was the only kind, before Prohibition conditioned us to the flat watery stuff. It probably wasn't better than the Ranger IPA I'm drinking now, but you can't taste it from a black-and-white photo, and nobody alive today remembers that taste.

Ghostly

Lots of people who are only half there in this one.

Tomorrow lasted until 1925

... when the North American stopped publication.

 
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