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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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Neighborhood Wash: 1938

Neighborhood Wash: 1938

July 1938. "Housing conditions in Ambridge, Pa. Home of American Bridge Co." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

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Ambridge memories

That is Marshall Alley in the 1930's. The little barefoot boy sitting on the curb is my dad.


I'v always wondered how these lines between apartment buildings worked. (Not literally, I know how pulleys work.) Did there have to be agreements among the disparate apartment owners that tenants could attach lines? Were there municipal laws that stipulated attached lines as city amenety?

Regarding the antennas-

Most radios didn't have built-in antennas in the '20s & '30s so it was common to have wire antennas strung about roofs. As a boy in the 1950s there was a house near where I lived that still had such an antenna running between the chimneys though I doubt it was used any more. That was a time when everyone was putting up TV antennas.


Those are indeed what's called a dipole antenna. Each looks like one apartment wide with the insulators so they don't interact with the mast and building. These would be for AM broadcast radio but I use one across my yard to receive shortwave broadcast or distant AM stations.

Community antenna radio?

Any ideas what is going on up there on the wires and insulators long poled above the roof line? One wire attached to the 'antenna' long wire drops down to the rightmost ground floor window.

South Pacific?

The two "sailors" in the picture look like they're about ready to start a dance routine from South Pacific. Now which one of these darling ladies would be Bloody Mary?

Shiny Happy People

Just think, no dryer sheets, fabric softener, or anti-static spray, yet I bet their laundry smelled just fine.

A little song, a little dance

Maybe it's the sheets hanging on the line like a curtain but I just get the feeling that right after the shutter clicked they all broke out in a song and dance number.

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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