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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Tumblr: 1906

Tumblr: 1906

"Union Square with Naval Monument and St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco." Aftermath of the April 18, 1906, earthquake and fire. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

+103

Below is the same perspective from September of 2009.

Scorch marks at every window

of the still-standing St. Francis Hotel. The fire must have been horrible. While across the street, the buildings have toppled. The amazing column dead centre, standing. The foreground a battlefield of bricks. What an incredibly dramatic photo. And so poignant, with today's quake in the region.

108 years

Wow. Aside from the Dewey Monument, Union Square sure has changed quite a lot since this photo was taken!

All attempts at understatement comedic effect aside, this would make for a fabulous high-quality before and after photo. Only problem is, there are trees in the way now that might make it difficult to pull off.

Fire damage to the (partially completed) Westin St Francis is clearly evident, and it's amazing to me that they just "cleaned her up" and she's still going strong today.

Stunning and timely photo.

[There wasn't any "Westin" back in 1906, although the marketing department for that particular lodging conglomerate is probably thrilled to see people referring to it that way! - 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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