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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CHRISTMAS PRINTS

Chicago Beach: 1900

Chicago Beach: 1900

The Windy City circa 1900. "Chicago Beach Hotel, Hyde Park Boulevard." On the Lake Michigan Riviera. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.

 
On Shorpy:
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Other Crooked Goings On

I guess there was no tree too crooked to become a utility pole, back in the day.

Fire escape

I recognized the fire escape right away. We had one added to our elementary school in 1958 or 1959, after that awful school fire in Chicago at Our Lady of the Angels. It made two on the second floor of our 1888 brick and wood school. The other was a straight slide. We thought the new spiral one was really cool.

Right the First Time

It is indeed an enclosed circular fire escape staircase—or rather, slide—which could be used for nefarious purposes, as this article from the May 5, 1908 issue of The Chicago Daily Tribune attests:

Hyde in Plain Sight

What is the rocket-shaped item running the vertical length of the building, on the left side of the image, just "behind" the rounded corner of the building? Each floor has a "connection" to it.

Enclosed circular staircase fire escape?

Garbage chute?

Laundry chute?

Construction chute?

Robert Goddard secret testing device?

Open windows?

The bare trees and warm coats on the lads out front suggest it's a cold day - yet there are many open windows. I'm old enough to have stayed in old hotels with steam heat; I've also spent time Russia, staying in apartment buldings heated wtth steam. Theoretically, you could turn a valve on the radiators and shut off the steam, but frequently the valves were frozen from disuse. The only practical method of controlling the temperature in such situations is to open the windows. That's my guess as to what is going on here.

Architect

Herman Webster Mudgett?

 
SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE
Shorpy.com | 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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