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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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Skid Row: 1937

Skid Row: 1937

March 1937. "Men on 'Skid Row.' Modesto, California." Medium-format nitrate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

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Turner Hardware today

I always get double enjoyment ...

from pictures from 1937 since I was born in August that year. I picture my mother as a pregnant young woman living in those times.

And today ...

Same building, I believe:

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Turner Hardware and Implement Co.

The building is still there, and has been renovated into a rather attractive office complex. Not skid row any more!


I can't help but notice the men may be on Skid Row, but are still neatly dressed as possible. The couple in the car passing at right seems to be studiously ignoring them. Finally, I presume the sign across the street says Turner Hardware and -- but can't conclude what the last word might be.

["Hardware & Implement Co." - Dave]

The Bowery

The NYC Skid Row was the Bowery, essentially the southern (downtown) end of Third Avenue. To this day it attracts guys and some women that are down on their luck. It is however, like many parts of the big cities, being gentrified. Expensive condo apartment houses were built, a few are being built and others planned. The ailing economy slowed it down but it still manages to survive. The Modesto inhabitants look much cleaner and better groomed than the Bowery flophouse denizens -- mainly drunks, junkies and mentally ill people. Ms. Lange's 1937 subjects look like university faculty members compared to the Bowery people of the 1940s and '50s that I remember.

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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