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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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Hamburgers 5 Cents: 1941

Hamburgers 5 Cents: 1941

October 1941. An exterior view of the White Tower (called "White Tavern" in the LOC captions) restaurant in Amsterdam, New York. View full size. Medium format nitrate negative by John Collier for the Farm Security Administration.

 

Tom's Restaurant (aka Monk's in Seinfeld)

This is the Northeast corner of Broadway and West 112th Street in Manhattan. Sometimes on Seinfeld the camera will pan to the right (East) and you can see the Cathedral at the end of the block on Amsterdam Ave.

What a coinkydink

You can actually buy one of these buildings for a dollar (limited time offer - exp 7/31/08): Ohio Preservation Alliance.

Amsterdam NY

Most of downtown Amsterdam's a ghost town. A good size chunk of it was demolished to build a big mall, which is now 90% empty. Sad, really...

Urban renewal at its worst.

Art Deco

Please tell me that beautiful Art Deco building is still there. By the way, Amsterdam is Kirk Douglas's home town.

25 Cent Lunch

The White Tower was one of my favorite restaurants in the early 50s in Baltimore.

The good news was one could get two burgers and a coke for the sum of 25 cents while on the flip side was that it only took two or three bites per burger however I felt like a big shot as I would sit at the picture window and watch the passing parade on Erdman Avenue.

These restaurants were all over Baltimore and were also quite popular as a 2 a.m. stop after the bars closed and the munchies were on you.

White Tower

Another copycat chain was the Little Tavern Shops, a number of which were located in the Baltimore-Washington area. When I was a little boy, my grandfather frequently took me to the one in Laurel, Maryland. See it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/earlg/369898420/
The one in College Park, Maryland, just off the main campus of the University of Maryland, is still there, although it's a different business now. Amsterdam was another sad victim of urban renewal. Its downtown was almost entirely destroyed by a limited access road connecting it with the New York State Thruway, and a massive redesign of the inner city streetscape. The block pictured here was probably demolished.

White Tower

Was this the forerunner of White Castle?

[According to Wikipedia, White Tower was a copycat competitor established a few years after White Castle. Another article here. - Dave]

Seinfeld?

Sure looks like the one Seinfeld and company visited.

[Or maybe not. Amsterdam is 150 miles away. - Dave]

 
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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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