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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSSING THE PIES

The City That Works: 1943

The City That Works: 1943

Chicago, April 1943. "General view of part of the South Water Street Illinois Central Railroad freight terminal." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.

 

Protection

I like the particularly bright blue flags in place to protect carmen.

South Water Yard and freight house

At least some of those tracks were there into the 1970s and early 1980s. I remember seeing strings of Illinois Central Gulf boxcars parked there, visible from the Outer Drive.

My father was in that freight house around 1950, when he was with New York Central. He recalled the flooring was of hardwood blocks with the end grain facing up.

He also recalled being there with a survey crew on another occasion when it was cold out, and his crew had to go to a nearby switch shanty to warm up. There was some guy in there, probably fresh from the old country, who smelled like he ate nothing but raw onions and garlic. He and his coworkers lingered there just long enough to get warm and RAN out of there!

State of the Buildings

They are so dirty! Obviously the smog at times was unbelievable from the trains.

[Soot. - Dave]

Chicago

I worked in the Wrigley Building the last 8 years, I love seeing pics of what the area was like. Hard to picture the rail where skyscrapers are now, and with the Trump Tower behind.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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