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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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Hiawatha Noir: 1943

Hiawatha Noir: 1943

Chicago, January 1943. "Chicago, Milwaukee, Saint Paul and Pacific 'Hiawatha' about to leave from Union Station." View full size. Photograph by Jack Delano.

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Hiawatha format

What kind of film format do you think this is? Maybe medium format square?

[2¼-inch square nitrate negative. - Dave]

Front and Back

The locomotive on the Hiawatha was as much a thing of beauty as the "beaver tail" observation car. All designed by industrial designer Otto Kuhler. If this is the "Twin Cities Hiawatha" its 4-4-2 streamlined locomotive has been replaced with an E-6, itself a nice engine but nowhere near as lovely as those steam engines which were said to be the fasted ever produced in the United States (and some say, though without any records to prove it, the fastest steam engine in the world.


Just so anybody doesn't think that this is a typical observation car, this was unique to The Milwaukee Road. They made these things themselves in their own shops in their home city. Most other railroads had "store bought" observation cars, either the open platform units familiar from the movies, or the cars typical of the streamliners where the car curves from the sides to the rear.

A horny spot

It must've scared the bejeezus out of passengers looking out the rear window when they blew that air horn.


Just to let people know, that's the rear of the train, the last car known as an observation car. Also notice the raindrops falling through the roof ventilation, really neat photo.

[That's snow. - Dave]

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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