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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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Signs and Portents: 1910

Signs and Portents: 1910

Little Rock, Arkansas, circa 1910. "Main Street." Home to a number of intriguing juxtapositions. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

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Below is the same view from July of 2015.

Big city to small town

It's amazing to me how these streets all over the country used to look like big, bustling city streets and now they look like Small Town America.


Clearly Dr. T.J. Eckleburg had an office in Little Rock in addition to his location near the valley of ashes across from Mr. and Mrs. Wilson's filling station on Long Island.

Eyeglass Clock

If you look closely at the face of the clock you'll see the Jeweler's name "Stifft" on it. The clock wasn't a municipal piece, it was an advertisement. Eyeglass art like this was commonly used to proclaim that spectacles were made at the establishment. Stifft's must have manufactured glasses as well as more common jewelry. This was not unusual in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


"Little Trust Savings"

Classic. It really should read that way. I would much rather use my savings to see the Majestic A$$.

Looking back at you

I've never seen the eyes on the clock theme before but it's great. Every time you check the time you feel you got caught at something.

Boyle Building

That 12 story white building on the right side of the pic. It had just been finished about a year before. It was announced this month that after a complete refurbishing, it will open later as an A-Loft hotel.

The Roof is Carey's

This is good to know.

Lots to see

I too, thought the 2 men were checking out the 2 ladies walking by.

And the strangest things in this photo are the "The Roof is Carey's" sign, and the very creepy eyeballs on that gorgeous clock.

I just want to be there in this photo to personally check all these things out. Ah, for a time machine!

Little Rock rocked a little later

In 1957 the Blass store on the right looks as if it might be the same one that had installed a mechanism that sprayed a cloud of flowery scent on whoever was in range when the door was opened. Ick. Across the street and half a block farther away from the photographer was a tea room, in the street-side window of which sat a woman playing an organ. In tribute to the experience of my youth in Southern California roller-skating rinks where similar music was traditional, every time I walked by the tea shop I mimicked roller-skating moves, shuffling along the sidewalk. The organist smiled and nodded, more often than not. Out of the frame at right, maybe half a block or a block and a half eastlier was a pool hall. It was barely wide enough to allow billiard-style action with standard cues, had five or six tables with the short side toward the street, and a ceiling so high I don't think I ever saw it. Classic stale cigar-and-beer ambiance. When you finished a game you'd croak, "Raaack!" and here would come the attendant, one hand out for the quarter, the other holding the rack, which customers never got to touch. "Eight-ball, One and Fifteen" was the instruction.

Thought the street was dirt.

Then I saw the image full size. No wonder I only see one sign for an eatery. If it's on that street, I can't imagine the oysters, steak, or sandwiches tasting any good.

Are those two guys at the bank checking out the ladies who just passed by?

Stifft's Jewelers on the NW corner of Main & 3rd is still in business, though miles across town. The block it's in is a parking lot. The next block with the bank is considered the most intact block of early 20th century commercial buildings in the city, but no buildings exist between 4th and 5th. The large white building on the SW corner of Main & 5th (Capitol) has a penthouse floor added now. (I guess the roof's no longer Cary's). Most of the buildings to the left have been removed for parking. Houk's Music Store is in business in North Little Rock. M.M. Cohn expanded into this location in 1898. The Cohn's expanded their department store into a regional chain that went out of business in 2007.

Civic leaders brought the streetcars back. Not the horses.

If you got it

Flaunt it.

(Or, as I actually submitted, I actually put a great deal of trust in a majestic ass.)

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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