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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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Des Moines: 1940

Des Moines: 1940

May 1940. "Afternoon, downtown Des Moines, Iowa." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Hotel Franklin

The image is looking north on 5th Avenue at Locust. One can tell the direction and street by the bend in the road in the near distance. In the downtown area, only streets on the north edge (mostly numbered streets) bend that way.

The Franklin Hotel became a rat trap by the '70s and was torn down toward the end of that decade or in the 1980s.

The people look reasonably well-dressed, but so thin -- almost gaunt in some cases. Busby Berkeley indeed.

Des Moines

Does anyone know where in Des Moines this is? I'm sure it's downtown. I tried to search for Hotel Franklin, but came up with nothing.

[The Hotel Franklin was at Fifth and Locust. - Dave]

All Together Now

Now all together, put your right foot forward. Hmnnn, how did Busby Berkeley, I mean John Vachon ever get all them folks to synchronize like that, now that's a photographer.

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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