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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 • PROTECT HER FROM TUBERCULOSIS

Douglas Dam: 1942

Douglas Dam: 1942

June 1942. Construction work at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Douglas Dam. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

 

Feats of Civil Engineering

My late grandpa used to work on dam sites just like this one, albeit probably a bit smaller, in Finland in the late forties, early fifties. He was a Marion operator, driving one of those monstrous backhoes that could pick up a small car in one fell... scoop. He used to transport workmen across the river in the scoop itself. It held eight cubic meters, he insisted.

Makes one wonder about these great feats of civil engineering, accomplished by such small creatures as men with a lot of planning and some big machines. A lot was done by hand, too, where these days we have strange machines and novel ways of molding concrete pours and advanced reinforcement techniques.

But man, that is one huge site!

[They had their share of strange machines back then, too. Below is another view of the same work site. - Dave]

Kodachrome again..

I still can't get over how I can instantly tell a Kodachrome on your site, and how amazingly crisp and colorful they are. Even a pic of a muddy construction site is so sharp and clear, it's a thing of beauty!

I also love how the Kodachrome's crispness and clarity gives you a you-are-there feeling, looking at one from the 1940's or 50's. So vivid and sharp.

 
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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