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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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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Thirst Parlor: 1921

Thirst Parlor: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. An amazing amount of detail in this Pennsylvania Avenue storefront view, all the more interesting for its general air of shabbiness and decay. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Shoe styles

Price aside, it's remarkable that you can still find the same Men's cap toe shoe style in a Johnson & Murphy dress shoe catalog today.

Women seem to demand novelty, but with men it's "Just gimme some damn shoes, OK?"

CRASH! Down Come Prices!

I love the sign in the shoe store window -- "The Most Daring Shoe Sale Ever Attempted!"

I love this site more than I can possibly say.

At the Cosmos

The playbill on the left is a nice summary of the standard movie-house program of the era -- a "feature photoplay" (Playing With Fire) garnished with vaudeville and musical acts.

Rainbow Sweets

So what is that -- a taffy machine?

Shoe of a Nation

1921_newark_shoe

Anybody hungry for dessert?

After O'Keefe's, I recommend a dime bag of Foley's freshly machine-pulled taffy for the show ... in a rainbow of fruit flavors, maybe even Hires ... root beer?

A Nice Hand

The lettering on the theater signs is some of the nicest I've seen on Shorpy. If they were done by hand, then major kudos to the artist.

Thank You China

Just think, almost 100 YEARS AGO, shoes were $4.95 and even today, in 2009, one can find shoes at discount stores made of canvas, plastic or recycled trash for that very same price. Name something else that costs the same today as it did then. Wristwatches come to mind as a real skinflint like myself can find one for under $10 at a Big Lots or other cheapskate store but the old ones were fine quality with a swiss movement and genuine precious metals and crystals. Yes, I know the difference between quality and cheap, but I usually go with cheap for my cheap lifestyle. Have a nice day and forgive my everlasting ramblings.

Now Hiresing

Hires is probably my favorite fruit. Off to O'Keefe's Buffet across the street now. Ta!

The Cinema Next Door

That's the Cosmos Theater on the left, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue:

http://www.shorpy.com/node/6278?size=_original

By the way, I love this website. I work in Washington, and I try to check out the D.C. locations whenever I can.

Bang, Zoom

Earth to Moon, a classic of Science Fiction, now playing next door!

[This particular "Earth to Moon" was, according to the sign, a "musical spectacle" presented by Chester Polland. - Dave]

913 Pennsylvania

This is where the FBI building is now.

I think the sign painter just needed to fit all those words, and figured people would get the point.

Mssng Lttrs

The missing letters in the signs is almost always caused by the sign-maker being focused on one letter at a time, rather than the whole word. It happens a lot.

O'Keefes Buffet

If you look closely you'll see the reflection of O'Keefes Buffet across the street at 904 Pennsylvania Ave.

It's Essex Time!

Fabulous photo— A car guy/watch nut's dream! I'll take the Roadster (I believe it's a '19 or '20 Essex), and the display board full of pocket watches in the shop window.

The Cheerleader

Gimme an A.
As in camera.

Pixelated Pop

You know you've been using computers too much when you read that last drink flavor as "hi-res" instead of "Hires".

One-Stop Shopping

Hmm. After I finish taking this exam, I think I'll catch a picture play, and then rent a camera to take some pictures over at the cold drink stand before I buy me a pair of cut-rate shoes to take home in my sporty, opera-windowed roadster.

Under their spell

Spelling wuz not wun ov the sine maker's greater skills.

 
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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