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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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Hiawatha Temple: 1908

Hiawatha Temple: 1908

St. Paul, Minnesota, circa 1908. "Wabasha Street." The early 20th century was a golden age of signcraft. Gilded wooden letters and 24K gold leaf window treatments were standard. Several classic lettering manuals were published during this time, with graphic styles influenced by Victorian ornament and the Art Nouveau movement. To an ex-sign painter (a profession killed by the computer, alas), Wabasha Street is a candy store. This is how I imagine it looked, a chilly morning in St. Paul one hundred years ago. Keen-eyed Shorpians may notice a couple of small modifications to the original photograph. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Super job

Now my second favorite image on this wonderful web site, and my wallpaper now replacing my favorite image, only because of the magnificent job that you did in breathing more life into an image already brimming with it. My favorite image so far you may wonder? Rochester, New York, circa 1908. Now if you colorize that one, I know that it would come out equally amazing. What draws me to that image is the winged statue on the building on the right hand side, and especially the top floors of that building. I would so love very much to take a tour of that place that is now sadly, long gone.

Good Gold!

However do you get the gold to shine so well? Especially in the beer windows. As a signpainter myself, I wonder if it gave you an 'extra edge' by knowing what things were meant to look like. There are some nice bits of signwork there. The carved eyeglasses are about to get pushed out by electric signs, here just starting as naked light bulbs. Many thanks, Shorpy & Tacoma

Beer signs

Hamms and Blatz. That alone should tell you you're in the Midwest.


Al-Thib, I changed it this morning. Mrs. McG saw the photo and guessed it was taken somewhere in "The Cities", as she grew up near here.

4 Years Later

Here is the same exact street perspective photo on a postcard 4 years later, 1912, being sold on Ebay.

I only see one problem here

I might have to change my wallpaper from the colorized Coney Island photo to this one! Another excellent job and keep 'em coming.

Well done, Tacoma!

Thank you for all the time you must have put into this.
I loved seeing.
( And I love seeing all the pictures here, and this has become my biggest time-sink.)

Beautifully done

To the movie scene comment, I don't think even James Cameron could afford to pack a street scene with this much period detail.
And then to have it frozen so you get a chance pore over every pixel, that's where Shorpy shines.
Would it be rude to ask how many hours went into colorizing this? To the uninitiated [me], it seems like hours and hours of color decisions and incredible detail work.
Beautifully done Tacoma. May we please have more?


A brilliant piece of work. Oh, to be able to step into that scene....

shorpy the clockmaker?

Beautiful colorization job. It brings the scene to life. I was not aware that Shorpy was in the clockmaking business though. Sly!

The land before Time Warner....

There it is over there on the right, look, its the CABLE COMPANY! There they are before TV was even invented. I wonder how many people needed steel rope in 1908 that a storefront was needed. Or was the the local Western Union office? Either way the name seems somewhat ominous with the fog of time.

[The Cable Company was a major producer of pianos, with agencies in many cities. Note the sign above indicating this was a piano store. - tterrace]

Re Big Cudos

Dave, you are why "LOL" was invented. (Chuckling to myself.)

Ya done good Tacoma!

You've really brought this photo to life with your accurate colorizaton. It looks like the opening scene of a movie. I'm hearing the "clomp, clomp, clomp" of the horses and seeing the carriage wheels turning as the story begins.

Wonderful job.

Love this photo.



There is so much style in the old photos. Store fronts, the people, and even handrails and lamp posts had style. Pick a street scene today and compare. Note the stark contrast.

Thank you Shorpy for the steady barrage of vintage photos!

Un bel dì, vedremo

The Geisha Girl hanging sign over Mr Hough's Edison Phonograph shop
was probably a promotion for the Puccini Opera, Madama Butterfly, which debuted a few years earlier.

Ah, Colorization!

Certainly a meticulous job and as always, it looks beautiful and unreal.

Lunch and 2 beers

15 cents, you can bet we'll be late for work again today.


I tip my hat to you, Sir. Extremely well done :)


Good job, perfect.

Great colorization job!

You can almost feel the chill in the air, as you walk carefully, so as not to slip on the light snow.

Trouble closing my jaw

Good Lord this is gorgeous. You did this one RIGHT. Nice work on the color choices and overall balance. Very impressive indeed!

So real I can almost smell those horses

Fabulous job. Looks real, not colorized at all. Mostly the muted color palette does it. Sort of overcast day with overcast colors. The art director of a motion picture couldn't have created this scene any better.

"Watch" Out For Clues

Love the touch on the face of hanging watch under the spectacles! Shorpy does it again!


This has to be one of the finest color interpretations I've ever seen.


Through the eyeglasses G Nebelung, Only missing Rheingold, die Valkyrie, Siegfried and die Gotterdammerung to complete the ring.

Oh, that was sneaky

Yes, a sneaky way to work in the watermark!


You make colorizing look like a piece of cake! So perfect.
This one is just beautiful.

[I sekond that. -Dave]

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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