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About the Photos

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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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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.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Flour and Grain Exchange Building

One of my favorites.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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