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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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Knights of Pythias: 1905

Knights of Pythias: 1905

Indianapolis circa 1905. "Knights of Pythias Building." A sort of Flatiron wannabe that predated its taller brother by two years. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.


Union Traction

The "streetcar" is an interurban combine. An educated guess is that is a St Louis-built car of the Union Traction Company of Indiana.

They don't do that anymore

I love how there is a lumber store on the 8th floor of this building. One wonders how they got lumber all the way up there.


Indianapolis had a few "flatiron wannabes" back in the day. Four streets radiated from downtown's circle at 45-degree angles from the city grid, creating wedgy corners that cried out for buildings like these. All of them were demolished long ago; the first blocks of several of the angled streets were closed and made into larger blocks for some of Indianapolis's modern skyscrapers.

Gone. Really gone

Not only is the building gone, but the street is gone, too. Also, a few years after this photo was taken, the cornice topper was removed for some reason.

That section of Massachusetts Ave was vacated in the 60's as new construction took over. The diagonal spoke that was Mass Ave was removed to combine the two wedges of land into a square to accommodate less architecturally-interesting structures.

The next block east of Mass Ave, as well as many of the older buildings along it, remains today and is experiencing a rebirth as a haven for young, upwardly mobile urbanites.

I wish the streetcars had also survived.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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