The Shorpy Gallery
 
5000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Traffic-Stopper: 1941

Traffic-Stopper: 1941

"Michigan Avenue, Chicago, July 1941." And just a block ago, they were strangers. 35mm negative by John Vachon, who has a lens for the ladies. View full size.

 

Not Doc

The similarity is striking, but Doc never left western NC/eastern TN until "discovered" by Ralph Rinzler in 1960.

Doc!

Oh my! I think jimchig has it nailed. I pulled up two windows of the photos to the same scale size and I think this is indeed Doc Watson being guided down the street as lulu states. RIP Doc, your performances will be missed.

[Below, left: Doc Watson in 1939 at age 16. - tterrace]

Guild for the Blind?

Though she is doing a very good job of not making it obvious, it appears the gentleman is being guided at the elbow by the woman. With The Catholic Guild for the Blind (now called Second Sense) about 1/2 mile from the location noted below, I think Mr. Adams may be correct that the man in the photo may be blind.

Re: Faux Purse

The young lady is carrying a train case. My mother had one exactly like it. It was dark blue "alligator" with a brown leather handle. It had a removable tray inside. With it was a plastic two-piece box for bar soap, a shoe horn, a button hook for shoes or a dress with small buttons and a comb. The exterior of the case deteriorated years ago and it was discarded. I don't know what happened to the soap box and comb, but I still have the shoe horn. I had the button hook until a few years ago when the plastic handle deteriorated and the metal hook rusted, so I threw it out. The plastic items were made of a grayish mother of pearl finish over a brown plastic. Very stylish. And as a kid, I used to like to open the latch to the case. When you would close it, it made a very secure sounding "pop".

Doc?

If he was carrying a guitar case, I'd swear that was Doc Watson escorting the lovely lady.

Could he be blind?

I believe this man could be blind, as the eyes appear quite sunken or he is squinting. But why squint? The woman isn't.

Avon calling!

Perhaps she is an Avon lady. I'd buy something from her.

And him for that matter.

No traffic?

Gas rationing is a year away but there are only three cars visible. Doesn't that seem strange?

Three buildings in the photo still exist

On the far right edge of the Shorpy photo is a sliver of the Chicago Tribune tower.

Next to the Trib is the former Medinah Athletic Club (now the InterContinental Hotel).

545 N Michigan Ave has the RCA Victor sign in the Shorpy photo. It's a Nokia store in the current Google street view.


View Larger Map

Even today...

..that young lady would stop traffic.

Surviving buildings

The couple is indeed crossing Ontario Street, walking north. On the other side of the street, at 601 N. Michigan, is a four-story building that first housed the Lake Shore Trust & Savings Bank, then the First National Bank of Chicago, and now a Chase branch surrounded by a Guess clothing store. At the time of this photo, its classical features (rounded columns) were understated. Further down that side of the street (across Ohio), behind the "RCA Victor" sign, is the Jacques Building, 543-545 N. Michigan. It was built in 1929, has art deco features on its facade, and is topped by a Paris-style mansard roof. After recently housing a Nokia store, it is currently undergoing a mildly controversial renovation.

The classy looking car at left?

Although out of focus, it's a 1941 Buick.

The Lucky guy

and lovely woman seem to be walking northward, north of the river, given what appears to be a downward slope to the street from right to left---towards Chicago Avenue. If so, they’ve just crossed the overpass (marked by the billboards) of the street that took one eastward to the Chez Paree. Have walked the mile many times in the late 50s while going to school in Chicago, frequently in the company of Miss Mickey. (Mickey, I still adore you, wherever you are.) Christopher Lasch once observed that fond memories will be a source of sustenance in old age. Truer words have never been written or uttered. And oh, my warmest regards to the ubiquitous Checker A.

Just maybe

That's a cosmetic case in her left hand, needed for an overnite stop at the "Hotel Discreet" just up the street.

[Or it could be a camera. -Dave]

Faux Purse?

A handsome couple and a gorgeous girl but what is that she is carrying? Surly not a purse. A train case perhaps?

[He's definitely not a purse, but the jury is out on surly. -Dave]

Strangely Familiar

Good Lord, I think it's Dairy Queen's big sister!

I saw you, John Vachon

Enlarge the picture and you'll notice her discreet but smiling gaze toward the photographer. And suddenly the man is more real to us. What a lovely girl.

 
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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.