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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 • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Bustling Beantown: 1906

Bustling Beantown: 1906

Boston circa 1906. "Washington Street." On our left: National Fireworks. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Filene's b'ment

wilso127- If you want to see what became of Filene's Basement do an internet search for "Filene's Hole". I bike/walk past every day on my way to work. It's a sad state of affairs for what was a true Boston icon.

Blueprints Gone The Way of Horse Colic Cure

The Makepeace Blueprints sign advertises the services of B.L. Makepeace, a firm still in the architecture and engineering reprographics business.

The "fish tacos" stand may well be Stoddard's, another firm still in business but just in cutlery and other carriage trade products.

50 cents per hour

I agree it seems like too much for the times. It would only cost 25 cents to play 10 games at 2.5 cents a cue which is what the competition and the parlor in question is also charging.

So many signs

So many signs to read - a wonderful image.

Have you spotted Charlie Chaplin walking away from us towards the horses on the right?

+98

Below is the same view (north from Bromfield Street) from May of 2008.

Pa was here

My grandfather, Francesco Conte, came to America from Naples, Italy, aboard the SS Romanic and landed in Boston on the Fourth of July, 1906. I wonder if he had time to stroll around the city a bit before heading to the north shore, where he soon settled. If so, my imagination tells me this is pretty much what he saw. And coming from a small town just outside of Naples, it must have been quite a sight for a 17-year-old. Another amazing photo from my favorite website ever! Thanks.

O.F.C Rye

"Mellowed by ten years repose in the wood."

100+ years later

Things have changed a bit, as one assumes

Horse sense

Speaking of equine exhausts, note the advertising for Daniel's Horse Colic Cure. An essential product for the time, I suspect.

Street-Sweeping Fashion

Another example of the strangeness of women's fashions of that day - dresses so long that two-stepping was the only way to avoid the equine exhausts found everywhere. Women must have been gathering and hiking those street sweepers all the time, yet I can't recall seeing that action on Shorpy. Wonderful tip-down signage. And isn't 50 cents/hour for pool a bit steep for those times?

Angled signs

Man, I would have been afraid to walk under those angled signs hanging from the upper floors.

Also, I would like to believe that the shop on the extreme right of the photo whose sign is cut off is selling fish tacos.

[Alas, the original negative indicates otherwise. "Fishing Tackle," presumably. - tterrace]

Neat!

A fireworks store right in the middle of town!

Bowling and Pool right across the street. All I need now is some alcohol. If only there was a Boston Tavern nearby.

Filene's Basement

Whatever happened to Filene's Basement?

Wilse

Lowest rates to the West!

Seems to be the downtown ticket offices for no less than 6 railroads: Grand Trunk; B & O; Canadian Pacific; Boston and Albany; Chicago; Milwaukee and St. Paul; and finally the New York, New Haven, and Hartford, who advertise the lowest rates to the west via something I can't make out. Of course they don't say you'll most likely have to go southwest through Connecticut first, but you'll get there.

I love any glimpse of the New Haven's glorious script logo, but the hand-set sign above is a real treat: notice how the flourishes on the 'N,' 'Y,' 'v,' and 'f' match those in the logo. Simply wonderful.

Old South

The vine covered tower in the background belongs to the Old South Meeting House (also called the Old South Church), built in 1729-1730. As the biggest gathering place in colonial Boston, it housed the mass meeting of December 16, 1773 that led to the Boston Tea Party. Curiously, the main entrance to the building is not through the tower, but around the corner on the broad side of the building (along Milk Street and out of the picture).

My Hometown

This is my hometown. I spent a significant part of my youth in the '50s and '60s on Washington Street, shopping with Mom and later running around with my friends. Now I just study every detail and drift back to my father's youth and try to visualize the sights, sounds and smells of Boston at the turn of the 20th century.

Thanks, Shorpy, for preserving this for us today.

 
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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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