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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

Park Forest: 1954

Park Forest: 1954

July 1954. "Commuters on platform after getting off train. Park Forest, Illinois." Photo by Bob Sandberg for Look magazine. View full size.

 

The one woman...

Looking at the camera holding the newspaper and jacket looks exactly like my Grandmother did back then. She did live in Olympia Gardens (a then very new development in Chicago Heights).

I am trying to find more pictures of my Grandmother from that time but one of my siblings has them put away (and lives across the country). This would be wonderful if it turns out to be her. It is so wonderful to go back in time on a site like this. Thank you for having it as there are many history buffs out there who appreciate these older photographs.

Straw boater on the right

Right out of the 20's, obsolete even in that day! Very snazzy!

Thursday, July 22nd?

From what I can see of the legible newspaper headlines, there's a reference to ending a filibuster (there was a filibuster of an Atomic Energy bill that began on July 21st and ended at about 1:30 a.m. on July 23rd), a stock surge (the DJIA posted one of its largest gains of the month on July 22nd) and something about the White Sox that, in my experience of reading baseball headlines, seems like a result of an extra inning game " . . . White Sox in . . ." (the White Sox dropped the opener of a doubleheader that day to the Yankees in 10 innings). If the picture was taken in the early evening, I believe it is possible that the early baseball scores and the stock market results for the same day might be included in the late editions of the papers.

End of the line

This is just about as far as you could go on the Illinois Central (now Metra) electrified line southbound out of Chicago. About an hour's ride.

A pretty hot ride in July on those 1920's vintage cars - they were still around when I rode the IC to work in the early '70's. But still more comfortable than the Rock Island's old "Capone cars" in which I logged a lot of miles, too.

Suits? Not dead yet.

As someone who commuted daily on the Long Island Rail Road from 1997 to 2009, and still rides it on occasion when I have a work assignment in the city, I can say that men's suits are very much alive and well on commuter railroads today. There's probably no other public place where you'll find as many suit-wearing men. "Business casual" is a concept that doesn't quite live up to the hype.

Get rid of the hats, update the haircuts a bit, and add some laptop bags and cellphones, and this picture could almost be taken at a commuter rail station today. About the only real difference is that the percentage of women might be slightly higher, and depending on the station there probably would be more racial diversity.

Speaking of hats, there's the urban legend that most men wore hats until a bareheaded JFK at his 1961 inauguration suddenly made them unfashionable. Yet in this picture, taken more than six years earlier, about two-thirds of the men are hatless.

"If the picture was taken in the early evening, I believe it is possible that the early baseball scores and the stock market results for the same day might be included in the late editions of the papers."

This picture is definitely from the early evening, as you can tell by the shadows that the sun is low in the sky, and newspapers back then often had multiple editions and reported news in a very timely manner.

By the way, there is and was no Park Forest station on the Illinois Central/METRA line. Two stations, Lincoln Highway and Matteson, serve the town. I believe this is Matteson because if it were Lincoln Highway we'd see the thoroughfare of the same name in the background.

White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are finally featured in Shorpy. Yes!

The CWS were in third place from July through the end of the season, behind NYY, and CLE who took the AL pennant.

Everyone dressed so much better!

We might be more comfortable today but every one is a slob today compared to a few decades ago.

[They were thinner, too. - Dave]

 
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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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