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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Temple of Beauty: 1908

Temple of Beauty: 1908

Detroit circa 1908. "Mather Block, Woodward Avenue." Where merchants vying for your trade include Madame Mattlar's Temple of Beauty ("Corns removed, 25¢"); William E. Metzger, dealer in "Motorcycles Bicycles Phonographs"; an outpost of the Singer Sewing Machine Co.; Tuomy Bros. (suits and cloaks) and the eyeball-bedizened offices of L. Kaplan Optician ("I Glassed Detroit"). 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Almost new 1908 Cadillac

The first car I see is unmistakably a 1908 Cadillac Model S Runabout, the last year for their simple and high quality single cylinder automobile. This photo has to be at least 1908. The 1907 Cadillac single cylinder is distinctive enough to tell apart from the 1908. I have a complete but unrestored 1906 Cadillac runabout.

AG Spalding store

The most interesting to me is the first store on the left, the AG Spalding Sporting Goods. The Spalding trademark sign which caught my eye, is right there. That logo goes back to 1876 and their baseballs were used by the National League for 100 years. As a kid I can recall getting a signed Spalding ball from Dusty Rhodes, who, during the off season, worked as salesman at the brokerage firm that my dad managed.

1905? Maybe not.

The Hotel Ponchatrain opened October 29, 1907 and since we can see folk in Summer frocks I suggest the earliest this photo could be taken would have been the summer of 1908. I know Shorpy isn't really worried about carbon dating every photo but thought a revised date might help other Shorpyites (shorpyologists?) identity those vehicles.

AG Spalding!

Those merchants vying for your trade also includes an A G Spalding sporting goods store! Spalding - one of the founders of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs and of the company that made the some of the gear I (and millions of others) used for years as a young ball player.

LOVE the baseball sign he's got hanging there!

Woodward looking south

This appears to be the first block south of Grand Circus, on the east side of Woodward. In the distance is the original Pontchartrain Hotel.

Still standing (sort of)

Looks like parts of that block are still there. Detroit addresses were renumbered in 1921 so these businesses correlate approximately with the addresses on The Mather Block.

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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