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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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Union Station: 1906

Union Station: 1906

Circa 1906. "Union Station, Indianapolis." If we step on it (but not in it) we just have time to make the 3:25 to Terre Haute. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.


and today --

Fringe On Top, Grade Below

If this were Oklahoma, that surrey would have a fringe on top.

A deeper thought: I'm surprised at the steep grade change between street and rail tunnel. Wonder if it caused problems for the engineers/drivers.

Electric light gains a toehold

In the foreground, an arc light is seen on a particularly tall pole... in 1906, they're fairly well established as the modern, whiz-bang way to bring noonday brightness to the public places in your city, like the plaza in front of Union Station. Edison's long-life, low current incandescents would eventually dominate, replacing the buzzing, sparking novelty fixtures. And just in case your fussy arc lights failed, we see several old-fashioned gas fixtures back by the station building.

Why Union?

Why are so many train stations named "Union?"

[Wikipedia says this. -tterrace]

Before it was elevated

About 10 years later, the tracks were elevated throughout the city so train traffic would not impede vehicular traffic.

The station house and tower remain intact but the structure has seen considerable modifications to its exterior. In addition, the area under the tracks and directly south of the station house was enclosed and docks put in place for use by freight companies.

You can see the Illinois Street tunnel heading south under the rails. It was removed and the street returned to ground level. I think this was the only tunnel, all other crossings were at-grade. It must have been tough getting to anywhere south or east of the tracks as they formed what was called the Belt Railway. As you can imagine, expansion of the city was primarily northward until this barrier was alleviated.

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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