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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Children's Day: 1902

Children's Day: 1902

June 4, 1902. "Children's Day on Belle Isle, Detroit." Looks like a good turnout this year. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Bucking the fashion trend

Almost without exception, you can tell the women by the white tops -- except the one woman just to the left of center. She would stand out in a crowd, if only there were a crowd around her.

As I look around the photo again, I see a few more women wearing dark colored tops; but white does seem to be the predominant color for the ladies.

A pole

Towards the center of the photo, there is a 3 meter tall pole, with a dirt area extending from it. Next to that is a plaque. Any ideas what it might be? I assume some sort of game or historical artifact.

[Note that there are two such installations, facing one another. Original full size tiff shows no plaque at either. - tterrace]

[Note also the two hoops with nets but no backstop. - Dave]

Sadly, things DO change.

This once lovely park is now in jeopardy, thanks to years of neglect and mismanagement by a crooked mayor (he's now on trial for taking bribes) and incompetent city administration. The State offered to lease the park and fix it up, but the city council voted that down. And a developer wants to BUY the whole island and turn it into a chartered city with expensive homes, shops etc! Oh for a return to the way it was when I was a kid.


It's like a modern version of Bruegel's "Children's Games".

Conservatory or Aquarium

The brick building IS the Aquarium. They are connected. This discussion waged strong on a certain Detroit forum site yesterday afternoon thanks to this very post.


That looks like the Belle Isle Conservatory going up. That would be consistent with the opening date of 1903 (the aquarium didn't open until 1904). They seem to be working on the main building, but haven't yet started on the glass domes. It is now the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, named after Ms. Whitcomb bequeathed her collection of 600 orchids.

Aquarium in the making?

Could that be the Belle Isle Aquarium under construction in the background??

I visited it a couple of times in the '80s. Beautiful building, and I understand it's now being reopened after having been closed for several years.

Not just today

Some things apparently never change.

My parents always told me, "Every day is children's day." And I told that to my kids, and now their kids.

Nature calls

As a mother, my first task when taking small children anywhere was to scout out the location of the restrooms. I can't see any outhouses in this vast expanse. If you had to walk to one that DID exist out of range in this picture, good luck! What did these people do??

Men without hats

Not here.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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