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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 • NORTH TUSCANY COAST, 1948

Sox Symbol: 1924

Sox Symbol: 1924

"Palace Laundry." Miss Spahr of the Elite Laundry, 5616 Connecticut Ave. N.W., circa Christmas 1924. View full size. National Photo Company glass negative.

 

Pressed while you wait

It is likely that one of the doors leads to a changing room so customers could have suits pressed while they waited, a service still offered at some cleaning establishments.

In the days when people often owned only one suit, many washed their own suit and had it professionally pressed once a week or so, self-pressing the pants under the mattress the rest of the week.

Bring Me a Shrubbery

Many things change, but others endure. For example, my laundry today MUST have a hedge above the interior doors. That one is not negotiable.

Miss Spahr

I work at down the street from that address. Makes ya think.

Payphone

I guess it was a coin operated phone to discourage Miss Spahr from making personal calls.

Dated . . . stamps

As someone who works in the identification and marking industry I can safely say the ink stamps of yesteryear are still available today. The technological revolution has yet to find a way to improve upon stamps in the way it has other daily use items. I could probably replace the bands, number years and day/dates, on that stamp and keep it going for the next hundred or so years. It is interesting that the basic design of some things cannot be improved upon.

Security

Interestingly enough, the first Shorpy photo of the Elite shop shows the interior lit up very brightly. The street and the 2 neighboring businesses (Ballards and the cigar store), are also brightly lit. The street itself appears deserted. Were they open for business at the time the picture was taken? Were they fully lit to accommodate the photographer? Or were the lights left on as a security measure? The front of the laundry appears to have no extra security equipment (bars or gates, burglar alarm window tape,if it was available then). The newer photo shows the window, at the top in the rear of the store, has bars running vertically, obviously to protect the place from burglars. I guess they could be hold-up victims through the front door and looted via the back window.

[These are two different laundries in the photos. Note the addresses. - Dave]

Re: Orderly lives

Mrs Grundy was a powerful force in the land, it was very important to appear tidy, clean, and godly, plenty of stories survive to testify that under the surface people were pretty much just like us...

Orderly lives

Looking at this photo makes me think how orderly life seemed to be in bygone times. I wonder if it really was?

I Must Confess

This looks more like a church vestibule than a laundry, are those confessionals on either side at the back?

[Yes. For used by patrons whose reputations have been stained. - Dave]

Speaking of "Dated"

Sounds like you still work there at the Palace Laundry. Perhaps our lovely Miss Spahr is likewise still employed. The winds of change have not blown through that establishment.

Perhaps while you are using your ancient date stamp you can also pick up that newfangled telephone you just installed and call up Miss Spahr for some courting and sparking.

It seems quite likely she will be glad if you do.

Dated

You know, I still use a date stamp like the one on the desk. I'm sure it's about the same age too. The company/building has been around since 1901. It was only a couple years ago that I finally disconnected an old phone from the 30's too.

 
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