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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Dutch Gap: 1864

Dutch Gap: 1864

November 1864. "Dutch Gap, Virginia. Picket station of Colored troops, deserted farmhouse near Dutch Gap canal." Wet plate glass negative. View full size.

 

Horsehair Plaster

Each time we're involved in remodeling or demolishing a very old house (40 years now), we encounter horsehair plaster over wood lath strips; the hand-removal of which may be the dirtiest job in the construction industry.

Pasty substance

What would that gluey pasty looking substance be between the boards? Just boards on both sides of the 2x4's?

[The "boards" (thin strips of wood) are lath. The "pasty substance" is plaster. - Dave]

Newish Construction

This looks like it's built with balloon frame stud walls, not post-and-beam. That's definitely latter-half 19th-century building technology. My house was built in 1874 and it looks just like this one.

Colonial chimneys

In Virginia in the 1700s, chimney fires were fairly common. If you could throw some ropes around the chimney, and pull it down, you'd save the rest of the house from burning. For this reason, chimneys of the period were typically not flush with the wall of the house..at least not above the second story fireplace. This made is easier to pull them down in case of fire. There's examples of this type of construction throughout the Virginia Tidewater, from wealthy homes to small log cabins.

The chimney

That must have been a most unique chimney. Don't believe I've ever seen one with such an extremely pitched roof topping it, at least as evidenced by the unfaded area on the attic gable. And typically, one would see a chimney rising above a roofline, not stopping below the fascia. I will look for an example of these unique chimneys in future Shorpy photos of this era.

[I'm sure the chimney did go above the roof. That little peak would be the top of the bricks between the flue and the house. - Dave]

This photo is proof positive

This photo is proof positive that digital will never, ever live up to film. The clarity is stunning.

- Suzanne

[True. Although I might note that "film" did not exist when this photo was made, on glass. It was the transition from glass to film that started photography down that slippery slope to grain and fuzziness. And even pictures made on glass using the wet-plate process weren't as sharp as a good daguerreotype. Which you'd need to see in person to fully appreciate. Printed reproductions cannot do them justice! - Dave]

Missing Chimney

I wonder if the chimney got pulled down because scavengers wanted the bricks.

Brick thieves?

This house was old even in 1864. My guess is that it dated back into the 1700s. It's a dead ringer for many of the houses still to be seen in Colonial Williamsburg. Someone has totally removed the massive brick chimney and fireplaces.

The Wagon

Looks like the photographers wagon parked by the house. Perhaps
a camera body and ground glass beside it?

 
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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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