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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Commonwealth Avenue: 1904

Commonwealth Avenue: 1904

Circa 1904. "Commonwealth Avenue, Boston." An ultra-detailed view of bustling Beantown. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Church steeples

What a great photo! I think that the steeple furthest to the left belongs to the famous Anglo-Catholic (Episcopsl) Church of the Advent on Brimmer Street.

Old vs New

All that nice contemporary urban architecture and someone decides he prefers a log cabin for his penthouse.

What is that?

It's the backside of an old Gamewell police call box.

Super Detailed and Super Cool!

This view looks like it was taken from Massachusetts Avenue (note the streetcar tracks) looking east. The church steeples visible include (starting from the right hand side of the street in the distance): 1) The Brattle Square Church, H. H. Richardson, 1870-1872 (now home of the First Baptist Church, known informally as the "Church of the Holy Bean Blowers"); 2) the Central Church (Presbyterian, now Church of the Covenant), Richard M. Upjohn, 1865-1867; 3) the Arlington Street Church (Unitarian), Gilman & Bryant, 1859-1861; 4) the confusingly named New Old South Church (United Church of Christ), Cummings and Sears, 1870-1873; and 5) with only the tippy top of its pyramidal roof and cross visible between some vent stacks, the famous Trinity Church (Episcopalian), H. H. Richardson, 1872-1877.

Massachusetts Avenue crosses in the foreground.

There is a roadway underpass at this intersection now. Otherwise the view remains pretty much the same.

Two trees

I couldn’t help noticing the cute little rectangles of grass in front of the houses on the right side of the avenue, and then my attention was drawn to the two lone trees sprouting out of the sidewalk adjacent to the two women (one in a white top, the other in a black top). I wonder why only two trees along that whole stretch, and why right there.

How many church steeples do you see?

I count ten. I don't know what the dome belongs to, though, so I didn't count it.

[The dome is the Massachusetts State House. - Dave]

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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