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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 • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Syracuse Bids You Welcome: 1904

Syracuse Bids You Welcome: 1904

Circa 1904. "City Hall, Syracuse, New York." An electric welcome to the Salt City. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Not painted. Just cleaned.

The old photo shows stone as it looked when the air was full of coal dust, which turned facades dark after a few years. These days the stone can be cleaned and it stays pretty bright for years.

Paint job

It looks like they also painted over the original natural stone; not an improvement but at least the building is still standing.

Hello Central

One of the reasons Syracuse bid you welcome was that the the New York Central main passenger line passed right in front of this building until 1936. The speed limit was 15 mph. All of the Central's mightiest trains got this welcome.

On the Erie Canal

City Hall was built about 50 yards off the old Erie Canal, which ran through downtown Syracuse until it was covered over in 1925 by Erie Boulevard. You can see the City Hall turret tower on the right side of this old postcard featuring the "Weighlock" building on the Erie Canal (which also remains now as a Canal museum).

Also a great picture taken from the Canal side:

Holy Schnikes!

What a fortress!

Revival Survival

This Romanesque Revival gem has survived surprisingly intact in spite of the fact that the surrounding buildings from 1904 have all been destroyed (as seen on Google Street View). It appears that the turrets on the main tower (and those flanking the center gable) have had their tiny conical roofs lopped off, and that in addition to the electric sign, the only other major losses are the rooftop flagpole and patch of lawn in front (after all of the awnings this week I'll not shed a tear over their absence). Even the varnished wooden doors are the same. Amazing! It's great to see something this eccentric come down through time retaining its integrity!

Blue sky

Thank you for the latter-day picture. That's the first thing I look for in the comments accompanying old images of landmark buildings.

And Today

The electric sign is gone. But they've added color!

 
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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