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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.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Post Office Max: 1912

Post Office Max: 1912

Circa 1912. "Detroit Post Office." The old Federal Building, a Romanesque Revival extravaganza completed in 1897. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

 

More PO destruction

Again supplied by user DetroitScott, another, particularly poignant, photo of the demolition, also showing the shield commented on earlier.

Stone vs. steel

Old building coming down: external stone structure. New building going up: internal steel structure. Striking juxtaposition. But still heartbreaking.

Too bad

It's too bad a Shorpy Hi-Res version of the demolition picture isn't available. That would be fascinating to compare to the building photo. Is it possible?

[Here it is. -tterrace]

Beautiful, detailed work - demolished

I often wonder how the artisans and laborers feel when a building that features so much of their talent, time, and artistry is demolished. Sure, they were compensated for their efforts, but all that intricate stone work must involve a level of pride that money can't buy.

Missing bird?

Is there an eagle (or whatever) missing from the left side entrance?

[That's a representation of the shield from the Great Seal of the United States. -tterrace]

About the Federal Building

Here's an excellent website on Detroit with all the details on the Post Office/Federal Building.

A mere 30-something-year lifespan.

Amazing that a monumental sized structure like this lasted a blink of an eye in terms of most buildings' life spans. Especially a municipal one.

Demolition

User DetroitScott provided this shot of the building's demolition in 1931. It was among some glass negatives the Detroit News was discarding and rescued by his father, a photographer for the paper. See full size here.

What a view from the tower

I'd pay a lot to be able to time-travel and see that building, plus look out on the smoggy Detroit of the time.

But you can bet it would be a long, long climb to the top, and there certainly wasn't an elevator in it, either, to make the trip eaiser.

That strange flag

...is apparently The United States "Civil Flag."

[No, it's the flag of the Customs Service, which had offices in the building. -tterrace]

I stand corrected: in the blowup I was using, the eagle wasn't apparent. -PFP

 
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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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