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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Zenith City: 1905

Zenith City: 1905

Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1905. "Elevators and harbor," along with a view of the Incline Railway and many other points of interest, make up our daily dose of Duluth. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

 

Re: What's Missing

Indeed, they probably walked to and from work. I grew up in Beech Grove, Indiana, home to a large repair yard for Penn, Penn Central and Amtrak that dates back to 1910 or a little before.

In the early '60s it was astonishing to see hundreds of workers in overalls, kerchiefs and the traditional engineer cap (with its distinctive narrow gray striping) as they walked westward down Main Street after work. Each carried a lunch pail and most seemed to have a newspaper under the arm.

They would crowd the sidewalks on both sides for several blocks, from a distance looking something like a pair of giant centipedes. Not surprising, Main Street was also lined with taverns which surely enticed many men to stop for a quick beer as they made their way home.

Iron Age

A portion of the fancy iron railroad bridge off in the distance still exists -- the first truss span -- visible on Google Maps and Street View from the freeway bridge next to it (its concealed by the freeway bridge in the modern view in the first comment). Its the only landmark I can find that exists from the original picture.

Actually, that looks like cricket

As to the ballgame being played at the right, the people don't seem arrayed correctly for baseball, but it looks like it would work for cricket, which, as I understand it, was actually played in parts of the U.S. at the time.

[Duluth -- "Cricket Wicket of the Unsalted Seas." - Dave]

Rices Point

The rail yard is the Northern Pacific Railways's Rices Point Yard and roundhouse. The elevated tracks on the left are Great Northern Railway.

Duluth & Iron Range

The boxcars lower left look like they might have "D.&.I.R." on them. That would make it the Duluth & Iron Range, which merged in 1938 to become the D.M. & I.R.

There are some more boxcars above those D&IR ones that look like they might be Great Northern. But the owner of the roundhouse is definitely not clear.

Rail line

A mid 1880s source cites the "St. P.&D. and N.P. Round House."

Selz Royal Blue

Fantastic details. This world of busy, grimy character has a real appeal for me. And what a great opportunity to see newly-painted side-of-building advertising in all its glory. Today one sees mostly faded "ghost" images. Across the way from Miller Beer, Selz Royal Blue was a shoe brand advertised all over the country. This ad in the Arizona Journal-Miner is from 1905.

The Roundhouse

Lots of comments about the roundhouse, and it is a big one: 36 stalls if I count right. It's interesting to see photos of such buildings when they were comparitively new as opposed to how they looked by the end of the steam age. Question I have is which railroad did it belong to? Has to be either C&NW or DM&IR, but I can't tell by the locomotives parked nearby as I'm not an expert on either road's power. I'm guessing C&NW, a far larger road who would need a roundhouse of this size.

Unfortunate use of quotes

"The Best" Beer in Milwaukee, eh? For some reason I don't believe you. Why'd you have to use the quotes, huh?

For the birds

I like the big bird house in the back yard of the place across the street from A. Larson's "General Arthur" store, or whatever that says. It looks just as ramshackle as the rest of the buildings. Being on a crookedstump doesn't help -- the eggs'll roll out!

What's Missing!!!

If this photo were made today there would be employee cars parked everywhere. That roundhouse surely employs quite a number of people.

In 1905 I assume that most folks either walked to work, like the folks walking on the viaduct, or rode the streetcar. There isn't even a horse and buggy to be seen. It does look like there might be a couple of streetcars way down the street.

Big Sky

Can anyone comment on why many of these old photos have so much "head room"? Photographers today compose their shot to get the most matter and keep the sky to a minimum. (Not to mention having to deal with the contrast ratio.)

This is why we look at the Shorpy

Another truly amazing photo.

It's deeply three-dimensional:

From the busy shirtwaist lady in the foreground, to the slouchy men hanging out by the steam laundry, to the (obviously) baseball people, to the infernal roundhouse, to the ships in the harbor...

Visually they're all stitched together, front to back, by the power poles: you can see individual insulators on the nearest ones, behind the Clarendon Hotel (New!), but they merge into infinity as they march to the shining harbor.

This is surely one of Shorpy's best. Apart from the swimsuit girls, of course.

Baseball?

Good catch. Who's on second?

Re: The Old Ballgame

Yep. I think we've stumbled onto some Duluth-variety hardball. And from the outfield alignment, we can only guess our batter is not a pull hitter.

That's the biggest

roundhouse I've ever seen! Any bigger and it wouldn't have a way to bring locos in.

Here is a shot of a current Duluth roundhouse from above (Google).

Improvements

Duluth really looks much, much better today!

Alluring Alliteration

"Daily dose of Duluth." Gotta love it.

The Old Ballgame

Are those guys playing baseball in the lower right? They're spread out like they're playing something very similar. (Click to enlarge.)

Let us venture back to a time

When Railroads ruled the Earth. Are they birthing Orcs in that roundhouse?

The same scene today.

Despite all the changes, this scene is still recognizable.

 
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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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