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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Middle Street: 1904

Middle Street: 1904

Portland, Maine, circa 1904. "Middle Street." Much signage for various goods and services including Taxidermy, Trunks & Bags and "The Ezy Blind Worker." Something to do with window shades, maybe, or a kind of libertine Helen Keller. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Urban renewal

I think most of the buildings pictured here are gone. They did a lot of rebuilding of this area in the past century, and extended Spring Street to meet Middle Street, probably somewhere in the 1950s. During this period urban renewal made a lot of changes to Portland, and a lot of historic architecture was destroyed in the name of progress.

The numbers on this map go up to the high 200s - Middle Street only goes up to about 200 now, before it intersects with Spring Street.

Now Middle Street ends at Temple Street, and the straightaway turns into Spring Street. The bend, what was once Middle Street, now runs in front of One City Center (built in the early 1980s), and through Monument Square, before intersecting with Preble Street. You can still see it on an aerial map of Portland.

When I was a little kid, I remember my dad being able to drive on this segment of Middle Street, but now it's all pedestrian right of way, bricks, with storefronts on the right, One City Center on the left, facing southeast as in the direction of this photo. A few of the buildings pictured on the right of this photo probably still exist, but none on the left; the street was pretty much decimated.

This 1885 map shows the bend in Middle Street that definitely doesn't exist now.

Page 18 here has a little more info.

Then and now

I like that the little building that housed the Dentists office still stands after all these years. From the way it looks in the first picture, you'd think it would have been taken down long before the more architecturally atractive buildings shown. I wish there was an easy way to see these things side by side!

Ezy Blind Worker

I believe it is has something to do with window treatments. This is based on this Maine Chamber Of Commerce article from that timeframe, which referenced the business.

Giant Hat

I wonder if it still exists?

+104

Below is the same view from October of 2008 (looking NE from Market Street).

 
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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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