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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Ninth & U: 2008

Ninth & U: 2008

Northwest corner of Ninth and U streets, northwest, Washington DC. For "Now & Then" comparison with Elite Laundry: 1924. I couldn't get an equivalent angle to the 1924 photo without fear of being run-over. Also, I hadn't appreciated the wide-angle lens used in the original photo.

This sad abandoned building has certainly seen better times. It looks like its last business incarnation was as a liquor store. It is currently sheathed with Formstone, (aka permastone), "the polyester of brick." The numerous club and concert posters plastered to the walls reminds me of the recent photo of 600 H St. NE: 1925.

Oops, thanks to anonymous tipster for setting me straight on location.

Envisioning the Elite

The lenses on those old view cameras were not especially wide-angle. Broadly speaking, the difference is in the size of the focal plane relative to the size of the lens. A 10-inch-wide glass plate would have been at least five times as wide as the lens aperture; a 35mm film frame (or the average CCD sensor in a digital camera) is about the same width as the lens, or smaller.

 
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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