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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Mermaid Queen: 1899

Mermaid Queen: 1899

Los Angeles, California, circa 1899. "The Harbor at San Pedro." A panoramic view made from two Detroit Publishing glass negatives. View full size.

 

My home town

I grew up in San Pedro. My grand father was a sea captain for Klaveness line. His ship was sunk by a German u-boat off the East coast of the US and Bermuda in 1942.

(Interesting read= http://warsailors.com/singleships/pleasantville.html )

anyways..... afterward, the company gave him a desk job in the San Pedro municipal building (City hall) at this location until his retirement in the 1950s. He took the ferry (down the street from here) each day back and forth from Long Beach where he lived with my grandmother and my dad.
The Norwegian (Swedish) Seaman's Church is still here too, has a long sentimental history with the locals and a haven for Scandinavian sailors far from home. Although we didn't attend, we went there when I was a kid for some of the functions (what-up Norwegian waffles with strawberry jam and coffee!!....sigh)
San Pedro was simply the west side of the L.A. harbor (and a part of L.A.). Lots of Europeans. Slavics, Hispanics, Greeks, Italians and Norwegians (and Swedes).
When I was a kid I remember one of the older folks say, to live here you had to have an "ia" an "itch" an "ez" a "kos"or a "son" at the end of your name. And its true. All of my friends did.

Portable steam

The steam engines sitting on the Wharf weighed several thousand pounds, but were on movable bases that allowed them to be called "portable." People were apparently stronger back then!

Now the World Cruise Center

This was taken close to the current location of Fire Station #112, the home of Los Angeles Fireboat #2.

Nob Hill, where the Hotel Clarence sat, is gone. The hotel was around 1st, 2nd or 3rd street. I think that's Beacon Street running up the hill, past the water tank and windmill.

Today that scene would be dominated by the cruise terminal and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. I photographed the Queen Mary 2 there on her first trip to Los Angeles.

Steamy

I believe that the third hunk of equipment from the right on the dock (with the vertical cylinder and inverted funnel) is a stationary steam engine, used to power the jib crane a little farther to its left. The item at the extreme right looks like another steam engine with a horizontal boiler, powering some off-camera machine.

I say, keep on stitchin', and keep on watermarkin', and keep on includin' the credits with each image for people to ignore and then question, gripe or contradict.

Thanks for an enjoyable part of my daily routine!

Los Angeles Soap Company

From the USC archives:

http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-14109

I also want to say thank you for the images and the work you put into them to present them here, it gives people an opportunity to see scenes from past days that would otherwise be buried in an archive somewhere.

Merry Christmas!

Instapundit gives Shorpy some love

Nice coincidence that Shorpy has been featuring LA and then Instapundit today has a link to the Shulman house from the 1960s. Twofer Tuesday, perhaps?

Straight, forward!

Thanks for this and the thousands of other wonderful photos you have shared with us over the years. I have seen some of the LOC versions of shots Shorpy has posted, and I truly appreciate the work that has been done to present them in better format here. Our history comes alive on these pages. The watermark is well-earned and a fine testimony of your care and talent. Carry on!

What's with the petty criticism recently?

I don't understand these people coming out of the woodwork and castigating this site for some imagined sins. Don't they get the concept of "value added"? The LOC isn't putting these exact images online, and the fact that Shorpy is free for anyone to view doesn't exactly imply that someone's being robbed here. The attributions are clearly posted for anyone with a mouse to see.

Sheesh. There has to be some better place to vent the snide zeitgeist than this website, which is a happy reminder of times when civility mattered a bit more than it does now.

Harbor Shot

Reverse angle. Same spot.

Best part of my day!

What a joy to see this fabulous panoramic action picture, which would make an intriguing model village for an electric train setup or a conversation starter for a restaurant wall. The three men in the boat remind me of the legend of the Blue Willow (an old China pattern) and the industriousness and daily activities shown are both fascinating and stimulating. There's a lot going on here and great food for thought and inspiration. It is by far the most interesting thing I've seen all day (so far). Thank you for the pleasure. I know I'm going to keep coming back to it.

5... 6... 7... Oswald was a...

Unless I miss my guess (I'm not from this area, and welcome correction), this is where the dockside shootout in "The Usual Suspects" was set and shot.

"The strangest thing..."

"Mermaid Queen"

It took me a minute or two to figure out your title for this image, but it's in there! Nice Pshop work, Dave. I sure hope somebody can get an updated view of this harbor from the same angle.

dave
www.heritagefilm.net

On watermarks...

Nice photo, but why do you watermark each one like it's yours? Shouldn't the watermark read "Shorpy/LOC"? After all, they're the ones who've done all the hard work.

And please, give proper credit to the folks working at the LOC and move your "about the photos" disclaimer to the top right column of your front page where it can be seen, instead of hiding it down at the bottom (where statistics show most folks don't navigate to).

You can mock others all you want but the fact remains - your practices are deceptive.

[The purpose of the watermark is to publicize Shorpy. The images here go out in "feeds" to hundreds of other web sites as soon as they're published. There are also numerous "scraper" sites that copy the jpegs here en masse for republication elsewhere without us ever knowing about it. People are of course free to use the jpegs from the LOC database, but they are not the same as the images seen here. This image being a special case in point. The caption info under the photos already credits the people who did the "hard work" -- the creators of the images; the Library of Congress is their repository. The digitization was done by subcontractors. You, whoever you are, have a poor grasp of what this is all about. - Dave]

Trains to Trolleys

Red Cars run there now. A close relative is a restorer/mechanic for the line.

http://sanpedro.com/spcom/redcar.htm

Lone dog loose

On the street upper left. And for an obvious reason. No automobiles yet to run them over. You could let Fido out the back door to enjoy his day.

Hot Rod Lincoln

Pulled out of San Pedro late one night
The moon and the stars was shinin' bright
We was drivin' up Grapevine Hill
Passing cars like they was standing still

All done without stitching!

This is a really wonderful panorama with superb detail. Created before digital photography was even thought about, let alone stitching software. Magnificent!

[The two images were stitched together by me, using Photoshop. Took an hour and a half! - Dave]

 
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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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