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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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Stem: 1940

Stem: 1940

May 1940. Stem, North Carolina. "Crossroads garage and store." 35mm nitrate negative by Jack Delano for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

What's there now

The gas station is still there, and the BP is behind where the "Coca Cola" building was.

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Gas n Go

I really like the idea of the gas pumps being close to the road. This is the true idea of "in and out." How can you get any quicker of pumping the gas and you're practically on the road itself.

Wonderfully gloomy!

There's something about the leaden sky and soggy streets that make me love this photo! Maybe I've been living in Southern California, Land of Eternal Sunshine (and earthquakes), too long.

Across the Street

I believe the BP is across Main St. from the "Coca Cola" building. I have a friend who lives in Stem and this intersection is instantly recognizable, even though the area has grown up a bit over seven decades. I'll check out the lay of the land in the next few weeks.

Was there any other way?

Noticed the sign to drink Coke "in bottles." Does anyone know if there was any other way back then? Don't think they had cans.

[Out of a glass at a soda fountain. Which, once upon a time, was how most people consumed their soft drinks. - Dave]

A few guesses about what's there now.

It's surprisingly easy to make a guess about which intersection this is on Google Maps; there's only one cross-intersection in the whole town of Stem that has any buildings near it -- the intersection of Main/Brogden and Sanders. There's even reportedly still a gas station there, though it's now a BP station with convenience store, and set back rather a lot farther from the road.

I can't really tell if the current gas station is on the same corner of the intersection as the old one or not, though. Based on the houses in the background, I'm tempted to say it's not, but that's just a guess.

About the time this photo was taken, my dad was six years old and growing up in a town only a little larger and maybe three dozen miles south of here.

Ubiquitous beverage

In a surprisingly large number of these old shots there is a Coca-Cola sign to be seen. Probably one of the oldest and most enduring brands in the world.

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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