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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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Hudson Motor Cars: 1911

Hudson Motor Cars: 1911

Washington, D.C., circa 1911. "Hudson cars, H.B. Leary agency, 1317½ 14th Street N.W." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Times have changed

That Hudson dealership is now a gay bathhouse.

More Heritage

My dad was an automobile dealer all his life. I practically grew up in showrooms and used-car lots in the 1950s and 1960s. I love these shots, keep 'em coming!

8:28: What a Party Pooper

I love the old auto dealership photos. Why should 8:28 complain? There are also old buildings in the photo.

I propose that a right-hand drive auto be driven over the foot of 8:28 until a more reasonable attitude is evinced.

Bring on the Detroit Dealerships

I can't wait until you feature MORE early car dealerships. Bring 'em on!

Car display

What I find so interesting about most of these car photos is that the cars are displayed on the street. The businesses were storefronts rather than stand-alone car lots. I suspect this is the case since cars were rare and most probably had to be special ordered. I wonder when the stand-alone lots became the standard mode of car sales.

Left and Right

Early cars had right-hand steering because the brake lever (which was hand-operated), gearshift and horn were on the outside of the car. Since most drivers were right-handed, they had to sit on the right to reach them.

Keep the Cars Coming!

I love the pictures of the cars! Where else can we see such detail of these cars "in period"?

My Heritage

As the scion of two generations of hand laundrymen, I understand the importance of "We mend your linen." If the customer didn't know his sheets were torn, the storekeeper took the heat. Sometimes they would be beyond repair and were returned unlaundered.

As for "Regular Pkgs 10¢" -- my grandfather opened his laundry on Market Street, on the Lower East Side, in 1910. Unfortunately, he died in 1935, so I'll probably never know if he ever got as much as a dime for a bundle of wet wash.

In any case, notwithstanding the disapproval of Automobile Dealership Americana, this is one great photo.

Star Laundry

The Star Laundry building is still there, relatively uncannibalized, at least above the first floor level. At street level, it is now the La Villa Restaurant, a take-out fajitas and taco joint. The buildings on either side, including the Hudson dealership, have been "updated" beyond recognition. No way to tell if the buildings behind the faux siding are even the same as what was there in 1911. The Star building is holding up well though.

View Larger Map

Anyone know where Star Laundry might be?

I see eight signs in this picture. Wow.


These dealership photos are beautiful. Americana at its finest. Keep 'em comin'.

Please keep to the Left

There was no requirement for left-hand steering in those days-- but Henry Ford switched from right to left in October 1908 as his Model S gave way to the Model T, and he wound up with enough sales volume to influence the trend. By about 1914, most or all the US cars had settled on left-hand drive.

[In 1914, many if not most American cars used right-hand drive. Even in the early 1920s some manufacturers were still using RHD. - Dave]

What's wrong with cars?

What's wrong with pictures of cars? Besides, they're neighborhood pictures. At least around here, we no longer have laundries on the scale of the Star Laundry next door. Quaker Oats isn't a surprise, but some of the store-side ads are. Some products are a lot older than you think.

memo to 8:28

Hey Anon at 8:28 - some of LOVE pictures of old cars.

If you're "suffering" - GO SOMEWHERE ELSE !!!!!!

Great historical car photograph

I love these vintage car photos. They are as much about our history as the architecture behind them. This photo just got copied into the Hudson folder in my digital car collection.

No Hupmobiles?

Five spiffy Hudson models in a row and not one Hupmobile! I owned a Hudson myself for over 40 years. They were good cars (obviously).

99 years and still on the road

Here's a 1911 Hudson, snapped at a car show in Concord, North Carolina, April 10th, 2010. Its body style (touring car) is like the one visible in the storefront window. This was only the third year for Hudson production.

Great Scott!

I looked and looked, and then my wife noticed: These are all right hand drive cars! Why???

Squeeze me.

I bet kids found those horns irresistible as they walked by parked cars.


How many more pictures of DC car dealerships are we going to have to suffer through?

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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