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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Goddess of Progress: 1975

Goddess of Progress: 1975

I photographed Russell Knott smiling at the 400 pound head named the Goddess of Progress at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California in May of 1975. It once adorned the top of San Francisco's city hall before the earthquake of 1906. Russell told me that he purchased several cable cars from San Francisco in the early 1950's at an auction and one of the transactions included the iron head. William C. Roddy, an assistant of Mayor Joseph Alioto, wrote Russell for the return of the head to be displayed for San Francisco 1976 bicentennial celebration. I used my trusty workhorse of a camera the Nikon F with a fixed 24mm lens and Kodak Tri-X 35mm film. View full size.

Where are the lights?

I recall seeing what appeared to me light blubs on the head. I don't see them in the display. I wondered if they did some cosmetic work on the head.

[According to the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco, "The electric lights which crown the goddess like a wreath were not original to the sculpture, but added sometime after the statute was taken down from City Hall, but before its sale to the amusement park." - tterrace]

The Goddess now

It's now on display in the present San Francisco City Hall, which dates from 1915. Here I am regarding it in 2007. About the apparent size discrepancy, it looks like you were using a wide-angle lens and standing quite close to the head.

 
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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