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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Trashscape: 1912

Trashscape: 1912

November 1912. "For Child Welfare Exhibit 1912-13. Whitman Street dump, Pawtucket, Rhode Island." Photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Whitman Street Today

Whitman Street is about six blocks long, mostly residential with an elementary school.

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Recycled windows

My grandfather used old windows to make greenhouses, they always worked really well. The ultimate recycling.


I don't think those little buildings are for people to live in. With windows that extensive, they would have been very poor in either heat or cold. But I do find it odd that the colonial style windows are so nicely made in comparison to the shacks themselves. Wonder if they were used as greenhouses, or as some kind of chicken coop (although the windows kind of rule out the coop concept as well). They definitely look to be constructed for special use of one kind or another.

One thing you won't find in that dump:

Plastic. Plastic bags. Any variety of inorganic disposable crap.

[Chemically speaking, most plastics are organic, not inorganic. I say this as someone who labored through two years of organic chemistry. Circa 1912 plastics would include bakelite, celluloid, pyralin etc. - Dave]


Do you suppose there were people living in what appear to be shanties in the middle ground on the right?


You have to wonder what's sitting on top of that time capsule these days.

Slim Pickin's

Not much there, but I'd still love to go back in time and paw through the drifts of stuff.

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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