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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 Detroit: 1915

Bustling Detroit: 1915

Detroit circa 1915. "Woodward Avenue and Campus Martius." Among the Motown landmarks in this panorama of two 8x10 glass negatives are the Hotel Pontchartrain, Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, Ford Building, Detroit City Hall and Dime Savings Bank. Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Window washer on the Dime?

The fellow on the window ledge is a window washer.... Look carefully and you can see his safety belt hooked into each side of the window.... A fairly common job with all the buildings with their windows!

Two Little Rascals!

Directly in the front of the Monument. It looks like a cop grasping two youths by their ears!

Right hand drive

Seems a natural evolution. Almost all drivers of horse drawn vehicles sat on the right side. When speeds increased and we drove on the left side of the road, I suspect a change to left hand drive was natural.

Name changed

The Dime Bank is now known as Chrysler House.

On the Dime

Is someone standing on a window ledge on the left tower of the Dime Savings building, eight floors from the top (just to the right of the cupola on top of City Hall)? Maybe Mrs. Wiggins locked him out of his office again.

No don't jump!

Oh wait, it's a statue.

Just a few years

It's amazing to realize that just a few years earlier you would see this plaza full of horse drawn vehicles. We think we live in unbelievable technological times, but the changes that had taken place by 1915 were incredible.

Right hand drive

Wikipedia has this comment about right hand drive, which makes sense now that I think about it:

"On most early motor vehicles, the driving seat was positioned centrally. Some car manufacturers later chose to place it on the side of the car closest to the kerb to help the driver avoid scraping walls, hedges, gutters and other obstacles."

My Grandfather

My Grandpa was an elevator operator at the Hammond building in Detroit for nearly 50 years, from 1907 to 1956,when the building was razed. During "off peak" hours, he would run errands for the many lawyers and businesses in the building, including their most famous tenant of the early 20th century, the Detroit Tigers baseball club. Every time I see one of these amazing DPC photos of Detroit, I imagine that among the throngs of people we see going about their daily lives so long ago, was my Grandpa going about about his daily life. I just know he's there, somewhere. Thank you Shorpy for these wonderful glimpses into the past.

Only Two Left

I was in Downtown Detroit two weeks ago for a conference, and I got to see many of the sights that have been featured on Shorpy over the past few years. The only two buildings in this picture that are still standing are the Ford Building (the tall white building smack dab in the middle of the picture) and the Dime Savings Bank Building (the tall white one directly behind City Hall). Just about everything else is gone or - in the case of the Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument - moved. The two survivors were both designed by the Chicago firm of Daniel Burnham, as was the case for the (now demolished) Majestic Building at the extreme right edge of the photograph. Thanks for putting it all together for us, Dave!

Right hand drive cars

I was surprised to notice many of the automobiles in this photo are designed with the driver on the right hand side, as opposed to the modern American convention of left side drivers.

 
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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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