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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 • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

Syracuse Panorama: 1901

Syracuse Panorama: 1901

Syracuse, New York, circa 1901, in a panoramic view of the Erie Canal combining three 8x10 inch glass plates. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Wish granted

This photograph almost fulfills my wish to have lived in that great era just to feel, smell, and see our great city. I've been trying to piece together how the railroads ran through the city and this answers so many questions. Absolutely beautiful!

Summer Trolley

There's a very unusual double deck entirely open summer trolley car on the dead end tracks on Clinton St. that don't connect with the main tracks on Genesee St., lower right of the photo.
Is the "one on the left with the tower and long shed" actually the New York, West Shore & Buffalo depot? Back then, New York Central passenger trains ran in the street downtown. Technically, both lines were under common ownership.

Jerry Rescue Block

The building dead center (left of the lift bridge) is the Jerry Rescue Block.

Wrote my Masters Thesis on the Rescue, too much to share, but the wiki entry is a decent if incomplete thumbnail:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Rescue

A bridge in action

Here is a video of the same type of bridge in action. This bridge is located in Brockport, NY.

Peeking Lift

There's another lift bridge peeking out one street west ("up picture"). It is just barely visible on the north (far) side of the canal, in the up position. Look somewhat below the "Greenways" sign for it.

A world of bikes at the end of the golden age of biking

In the lower right hand corner, you can see what looks like a bike rack on the sidewalk. Of course the 1890s had been the golden age of bikes, and the Model T was still 8 years away from sale to the public. The world of the car was about to emerge, but not yet, not in 1901. When it did, sidewalk bike racks probably wouldn't come back for, oh, about 100 years, until about yesterday afternoon.

Throughout the image I count 7 bikes, 2 with riders, 5 parked, although there may be more than 2 under the awnings of the bike store. And of course there is a bike store in the middle, on a prominent commercial corner, because bikes were still a bigger deal than they were about to become as auto production began to double every few years of the early 20th century.

Canals are so cool

I think they should dig up the Erie Canal and open it to traffic again. Traveling around England and Europe on the canals is a fantastic way to see the countryside.

Lift bridge sidewalks

The far side of the lift bridge has stairs that connect to the sidewalk on that side when the bridge is in the up position. The gents apparently decided to take a ride on the side that has no up connection, which although frowned on, is still considered fun by some. Several bridges of this type have survived to this day on the Erie Canal:
http://bridgehunter.com/ny/orleans/knowlesville-road/
http://bridgehunter.com/ny/monroe/washington-street/
http://bridgehunter.com/ny/niagara/adam-street/

At least one building is still there.

Center of the picture to left of canal. The first building is gone (with white walls) but the middle building still stands.

View Larger Map

Bridge explanation?

That bridge across the canal has me puzzled. Did it raise with some sort of mechanism to the position seen in the photo, for passage of boats? It looks like there's nothing to keep a person from falling off the ends of the nearest walkway (can't tell about the one on the other side).

The pre-concrete Erie Canal

For those not familiar with this area, the waterway with the bridge over it is the Erie Canal as it passed through downtown Syracuse (before it was paved over). You're looking essentially West. The bottom of the photo not seen is now "Clinton Square" (named for Dewitt, not Bill) where several majestic old buildings still survive. See http://www.shorpy.com/node/5501

Today in Syracuse


View Larger Map

The post office at the center is where the "Clinton Block" on the right side of the picture once stood. The canal itself has been filled in long ago and is now Erie Boulevard, which runs along the left side of the post office.

Onondaga Coarse Salt Association

Wikipedia has a wealth of interesting detail on the Syracuse salt industry in general, and mentions the OCSA headquartered at No. 1 Clinton Block - 'Manufacturers and Dealers in all kinds of Coarse or Solar Salt." (Mid-frame, on the immediate right of the canal).

Gone but not forgotten

All of these buildings are long gone. The one on the left with the tower and long shed is the old New York Central station.

 
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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