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About the Photos

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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Ruins of the City: 1904

Ruins of the City: 1904

"Baltimore Fire of 1904. Electric Railway Powerhouse." Out third view from the Great Fire. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


Re: 05

My guess is that Mr 05 was part of a fire brigade, hence the number on his sweater. Firefighters from more than 38 cities came to help with the fire, which consumed more than 70 blocks in roughly 30 hours. Unfortunately, this was before the days of standardization, and many of the hoses borrowed from other cities coudn't be coupled to Baltimore's water supply.


Why does the man's shirt say "05"?

[Class of 1905. - Dave]


I think those are the flywheels for the generators. They probably would have been using electric motors for the trolleys.

End of the Line

The very large wheels shown here appear similar to those used to pull the cables at the powerhouse and car barn of the San Francisco cable car system. Did Baltimore have cable cars at this time?


with Derby hats! Outstanding photograph. Are there more in this series? Historical disaster photos are fascinating.

[Yes, many more. - Dave]

Filed under favorites

Third and BEST in this set of photos! It first made me think of The Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough At Last". Those beams are just shredded!


That has to be my favorite Shorpy find yet! What a great photo!


It looks like a scene from "Metropolis."

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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