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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 • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Castle of Commerce: 1905

Castle of Commerce: 1905

Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1905. "Chamber of Commerce." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

+108

Below is the same view from June of 2013.

Xmas Bow

The building always had a big red ribbon and bow around it during the holidays. I bet it still does.

De Gustibus

I know that there cam be no disputes about taste, but I must say that, to me, this building is somewhat hideous and a whole lot funny. Just sayin.

Goodbye Central Artery

For the better part of half a century, the old elevated Central Artery - 6 overhead lanes of dirty, noisy, interstate highway, bisecting the City of Boston from Chinatown to the North End and cutting the waterfront off altogether from the rest of downtown - ran right behind this building (just about where the "Retail Grocers Association" building is located in the photograph). It was so close, you could look inside the windows of the offices in the building as you crawled along the Artery, watching people talking on the phone. Thankfully, the Artery is gone, the highway is now underground (the Big Dig project), and as I sit here in my office on the other side of the former Artery, I have a clear, unobstructed view of one of the 10 best buildings in all of Boston.

It looks just like

a five-year-old's party hat. All it needs is an elastic chin strap.

Art as Architecture

If ever art was architecture and architecture was art, this is a perfect example. It's great for Boston, and the world, that it's still around.

Gorgeous

What a great old building. And very encouraging that it still stands. I worked in downtown Boston in the early 90s and I am sure I passed by this building many times, but I am surprised, and somewhat chagrined that I don't recall it. Thanks to Shorpy I get a second chance.

Diminished

Somehow Google Street View just doesn't do it justice the way the old view cameras could. Beautiful building!

The "L"

That elevated track on the left has got to be the old Atlantic Avenue "L." It would be torn down for scrap 35 years later.

Survivor

Richardsonian Romanesque at its Finest

This very "Richardsonian" building got its inheritance straight from the source: it was designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the successors to H. H. Richardson's architectural practice. It was built in 1890-1892 (even though the date over the door says 1891) and was originally called the Flour and Grain Exchange.

 
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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