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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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Plunge Bathers: 1891

Plunge Bathers: 1891

1891. "Hot Springs, South Dakota. Interior of largest plunge bath in U.S. on Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railway." Photo by John C.H. Grabill, noted chronicler of the Western frontier and "Official Photographer of the Black Hills and Fort Pierre R.R. & Home Stake Mining Co. -- Studios: Deadwood and Lead City, S.D. -- A Handsome Reward given for detection of any one copying any of my Photographic Views." View full size.


Brass Bands

I sincerely miss those brass bands that used to play at the pool in the summer.


This term was apparently common in the 19th and early 20th centuries but what makes a "plunge" different than a swimming pool? Why the different term?

[Because these pools were more for bathing as opposed to swimming. - Dave]

Evans Plunge

I live in SD and went to Evans Plunge as a child. It's now owned by the city of Hot Springs.

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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