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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 • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Market Street: 1904

Market Street: 1904

Philadelphia circa 1904. "Market Street from Eighth." City Hall's clock tower at the end of the street. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Strawbridge's

Gazing out

I love the faces sculpted into the facade, just at the left edge of the photo. There are a few remaining buildings here in Portland, Oregon, which have faces carved into them. When did our buildings stop looking back at us?

Hank adds the following notes:

A moment in transit history. The streetcar tracks must have been rebuilt about 5-10 year earlier, when cable cars were eliminated (note no slot), and would be torn up in another year or two for construction of the Market St subway, then restored.

The top of the Reading Terminal building is just visible on the right (north) side of the street - that dark cornice seen in front of the City Hall tower.

Strawbridge & Clothier, one of the three big department stores in Philly is on the right, between 8th and 9th Sts. They are still there but with a newer building. Wanamaker's was in the left side of the street, out of sight just before City Hall. Gimbels would be on the left nearby. I can't make out whether the signs on the extreme left edge of the picture are for Gimbels or for Snellenbergers, another department store.

Even single-truck cars still appeared on busy market street! But most of the cars are what was then a standard design in Phila.

What this street needs

Because of the crowds, what this street needs is a subway. Congestion is only going to get worse, especially when they actually start digging for one in a couple of years.

At right is the Strawbridge

At right is the Strawbridge & Clothier store, where the Philadelphia Inquirer is scheduled to be moving this summer, with its newsroom and business offices on the third floor.

Cloak and Suiters

In the Garment Centered economy of NYC in the 1940 and 1950s, a "Cloak & Suiter" replaced the "Big Butter & Egg Man" as the lavish spender of the times. The colloquial nickname was "Cloakie." They were replaced in the 1990s by the "Dot Com People."

 
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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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