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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Monument Circle: 1907

Monument Circle: 1907

Indianapolis, Indiana, circa 1907. "Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Same occupant, different building

The 5 story building seen immediately to the right of Christ Church is the original Columbia Club. That structure dated from the late 1880's and was replaced in 1925 with a 10-story building due to growing membership. The replacement building survives to this day.

The 'house' to the right of the Columbia Club was actually the offices of the Indianapolis Water Company at 113 Monument Place.

The depressing aspect to this photo is how wide-open, simple and majestic it was back then. Today, Monument Circle is rather claustrophobic, cluttered and tourist-y.

Traffic pattern

I noticed the horses and buggies are traveling in both directions on the circle, Indiana's earliest "roundabout." Traffic now only flows in one direction, counterclockwise.

Stunning picture

Wow. Brilliant. And how different it looks today. The only other building I can see that still remains is the building on the north exit from the square (just before the park) with the columns and stairs in front.

I visited there in 1992

And many of the facades of the buildings facing the circle were being held up by iron superstructures. They were preserving the facades for later back filling by more modern architecture.

Monument Circle

What an amazing monument,designed by Bruno Schmitz (1858-1916) who also designed among other things the German Pavilion for the 1904 World's Fair in St Louis. More here.

One Building Left

There is one building left standing around the perimeter of Monument Circle from the time of this photograph, but it is practically invisible: Christ Church Cathedral, built in 1857 (according to the mavens at Wikipedia), lies hidden behind the Monument at the northeast corner of Monument Circle and Meridian Street. Other than that, the only surviving building in the photograph appears to be the US Courthouse (1902-1905), a small sliver of which may be seen set back from Meridian Street behind a balustrade, two blocks north of the Monument.

Could Be Europe

A totally unexpected and beautiful view of a Midwestern US city. While many places like this still exist in Europe, it appears that everything here except the monument itself has been wiped away. We can't even blame it on war.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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