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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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Wrong Turn: 1921

Wrong Turn: 1921

1921. "Auto wreck." Vehicular mishap on a wintry day on the streets (and sidewalks) of Washington, D.C. View full size. National Photo Company.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Street view

On Bing maps.

Tire chains

I think the tire with the chain lying flat in the left front is actually from the left rear, That would make sense but what happened to the left front tire? The plot thickens.

[The rear passenger side wheel is broken but still at the back of the car. - Dave]

Congrats forensic photogs

Well I, for one, am glad that someone figured out a probable location for this photo. I was about to spend my friday hiking up and down 10th street Northeast looking for similarities in the row houses.

Anyone up for submitting a street level photo of these row houses today?

10th & R NW

How about Tenth Street Baptist Church, 1000 R St NW? Why's DC not got Google Street View yet?! Can't we get a blow-up of the signage?

[By golly you're right. Click the image below. The car would be around where the X is, with the camera looking east across R at the rowhouses along 10th Street, which are still there. But the church building and streetcorner in the other photo seem to be long gone. - Dave]


I have always been under the impression that chains were for snow and that they were less than useless with ice because one was more likely to slip. Guess the old tires behaved differently?

[I think you've got it backwards. - Dave]

Tire chains

I see the chains on the back tire and on left front tire, but not on the right front. Wouldn't that be dangerous driving like that?

[Evidently yes. - Dave]


Note the covering used on the radiator and hood. Airflow could be restricted during the winter months for warmer running. This car looks like a Dodge but I can't be sure with the radiator covered.

Forensic Accident Investigation 101

Was wondering what that is in the lower right then remembered seeing it before on Shorpy. It's part of a light pole - street sign like the one on Minute Service No.5.

Maybe. The fence doesn't look damaged, the curb could have torn off the tire, or he hit the tree, or he wrapped it around a pole and that's part of it on the ground?

[There's more to come from this mishap. Stay tuned. - Dave]

Tire Chains

First off, I find it interesting that they had tire chains back then and despite having them on this particular car, they didn't prevent this mishap...must've been quite the icy streets that morning.

["Back then"? This was the heyday of the tire chain. There was probably a set of chains sold for every car in Northern climates. - 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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