SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Subway Fire: 1915

Subway Fire: 1915

On January 6, 1915, an electrical short in a manhole started a fire that filled the subway line under Broadway at West 55th Street with smoke, resulting in chaos for a quarter-million commuters. The New York Times reported that one person, Ella Grady, was killed. We note that photographer George Grantham Bain, like many of us writing checks just after January 1, was a year off in dating this photo. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Complete lack of crowd control

Amazing how all of the rubber neckers stand on the partially removed grates peering down into the subway.

An interesting contrast would be the mid 2007 steam line blow out near Grand Central where half of the emergency responders were dealing with crowd control.

Woodward Hotel

Which is now the Dream Hotel. It used to have a sister building across from it on 55th Street, long gone.

Lousy Experience

I was in a 1990 subway fire. Water leaked onto a transformer causing an explosion that sent thick brown smoke throughout the train. Nothing like feeling like you and your 50+ train-mates are going to die in a hole.

The building at left rear…

… (with the arches) seems to be the only building in this photo or the other one still extant. It's visible in Google Street View here.

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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