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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Summer of '41

The Summer of '41

Chicago, July 1941. "Ohio Street bathing beach, Lake Michigan." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Below is the same view from June of 2017.


I grew up in Chicago, now live in Indiana. Lots of hot summers were spent at these beaches as a kid. What carefree days. Met my wife just a few hundred yards from here and had our first date on Navy Pier (behind photographer position). Love my city and it's history. Thanks Shorpy and all who share these historic gems. I can just hear the sound of the waves, the traffic on The Drive, I can feel the heat and the sound of the Cubbies on a nearby radio interspersed with the laughing children. Great significance in this one as the Greatest Generation enjoyed a final summer of innocence before the storm.


I wonder

I wonder what the water quality was like this close to a heavily built-up area. Both chemically and biologically.

Just 5 Months

Just 5 months until their world was rocked. I wonder how many in the photo wound up in the service, and how they fared.


Always amazed at the contrast between a shot such as this one and how the same folks would have dressed only 35 years before. A fairly fast evolution in clothing styles. Yes, and I agree with VJ, hope they made it through what lay ahead.

Number of the Beast!

The big building at the left is the former American Furniture Mart, built in two sections between 1923 and 1926 by several associated architects: Henry Raeder Associates, George C. Nimmons & Co., and N. Max Dunning. The building's original address was 666 North Lake Shore Drive; in 1988 it was changed to something far less interesting: 680 North Lake Shore Drive. This change is especially unfortunate, as the building currently houses the offices of Playboy Enterprises. What a missed opportunity!

How styles change

Funny, all the guys in the photo are in bikini type bottoms and the girls have loose flowing beach wear. Now days girls are in bikini's and the guys wear loose flowing shorts. I like the styles now better.

I Hope

The two young men enjoyed it while it lasted, then came home alive in '45!

SHORPY HISTORICAL 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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