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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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The Traveler: 1939

The Traveler: 1939

January 1939. "Railroad tracks. Williamson County, Illinois." Photo by Arthur Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

My home area!

I grew up in southern Illinois, one county over from Williamson. I can tell you that, especially in winter, these tracks (which run approximately parallel with old Route 13) and the landscape around them look exactly the same today. Bleak, but kind of beautiful.

Vanishing Point

This image perfectly portrays the rural midwestern landscape that has all but vanished except from my memories of growing up in northwest Indiana.

Maybe Best Ever

This may be my favorite Shorpy, artistically, since I have been a "member" with the one exception of the annual Christmas Party picture and the accompanying comments. Thank you,

~ ZeissMan

Burlington Route

The rather distinctive snaking of the track appears to go with a spot just a bit north of the Harrison-Bruce Sports Complex on the eastern outskirts of Herrin, on a CB&Q line that the town history says was built in 1906.

Proceed with caution

Dangerous curve ahead where the Grim Reaper waits.

Spooky picture

Neighbors would be looking up the phone number for 911 these days if they seen that character.


Hrm. Most likely the Chicago & Eastern Illinois tracks, though it might be a short line still in use. (Rail faces are shiny not rusted, indicating current traffic; brush growing through the ballast and eroding ballast itself suggests maybe not a main line.)

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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