SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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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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Over a Barrel: 1928

Over a Barrel: 1928

Fredericksburg, Va., circa 1928. "Warehouse, Hoop-Pole Factory, 307-13 Sophia Street." 8x10 acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Hoop poles

According to the dictionary, a hoop pole is: a straight slender length of green sapling wood usually of hickory or white oak that was formerly used as stock for barrel hoop.

Lost in Time in Fredericksburg

Just spent several hours in the Shorpy Vortex, where curiosity can kill the good part of a day.

Wondering what this ramshackle scene looks like today (narrow grassy field leading to the Rappahannock River), I had Google "drive" me right next door to 401-403 Sophia Street and an 1843 white antebellum duplex. This home was just yards from the boys and their barrel. But Street View hasn't been upgraded since divided local furor led to, and also didn't prevent, the demolition of the building in 2015. The structure was the last one standing in a noted Civil War photo.

Spokeo revealed the home's most recent resident's name which led to a new search - and a 1998 "Free Lance-Star" newspaper article about that resident's ongoing battle with human filth and sex acts just a few feet away. He described the spot as the "only nasty area on the whole river".

Right next to that article was a heartbreaking local story about wife v. family's (probably famed) legal travails over removing the feeding tube of an injured TV news anchor. I totally got caught up in taking that fork in history's road.

This entire journey had nothing to do with the boys and their barrel, but everything to do with the wonders of Shorpy and where pondering over a simple picture can lead.

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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