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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 • FRENCH BICYCLE GODDESS, c. 1898

Walnut Street: 1906

Walnut Street: 1906

Kansas City, Missouri, circa 1906. "Walnut Street." Home of the $2 hat. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Can I interest you

in a piano?

Where I live now

I live at 1101 Walnut. You can see the address in the picture right above the Lewis Fashions sign on the right. It is now a high rise condo building that used to be a bank building that is now on the Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Bldgs.

Here is the intersection today:
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=11th+and+walnut,+kansas+city+mo&um=1&ie=U...

& some info about the building at 1101 Walnut today:

http://www.rosinpreservation.com/projects/mercantile-bank-trust-building...

A "wild, concupiscent city"

is how the writer Edward Dahlberg described KC in 1905. Imagine a 21-year-old Harry Truman beneath one of those bowlers, walking from his room in Mrs. Trow's boardinghouse to his job at the Union National Bank, before drill practice with his Missouri National Guard regiment. By year's end he would again be a farmer on what was left of the family's farm in Blue Ridge.

Animal Empathy

Since becoming a Shorpster I really feel sorry for beasts of burden back in the day.

$2.25 hats on the right

Never cut corners on a round hat.

Electric Belt

FOR NERVOUS DISEASES of all kinds in men and women, to reach the nerve centers for the cure of all nervous disorders the Heidelberg Electric Belt stands alone. For weakness in men and women, personal exhaustion bringing back lost strength and power, over brain work, vital , impotency, rheumatism, sciatica, lame back, railroad back, insomnia, melancholia, kidney disorder, Bright's disease, dyspepsia, disorders of the liver, female weakness, poor circulation, weak heart action and almost every known disease and weakness. The constant soothing alternating electric current is ever at worktouching the weak spots, building up the system, stimulating the circulation. ALL THAT ELECTRICITY WILL DO FOR YOU WILL BE RECEIVED through the use of our electric belt.

Give'em the belt

Here's the one and only electric belt!

Electric belts

Advertisements for electric belts can be found in turn of the 20th century catalogues, such as Sears-Roebuck and Montgomery-Ward and such. The idea was that a myriad of ills could be cured by electric shock. The belts came in various voltages, and some even had rheostats. Any takers?

All abuzz.

I'll take one of those electric belts, please. And charge it.

"Plain" baths

Not on your life, I'm getting a bath AND a room for 75 cents.

Get a Horse!!

The car is a 1904 Franklin with what seems to be a homemade windshield and top.

Why are you weak?

That's a really big $2 derby

Complete with painted hat band and electric lights. In fact there are at least three stores advertising men's hats in this shot.

I'm not so sure about "electric belts," though.

Everything's like a dream!

Where is Will Parker? This is right before Oklahoma became a state, just in time to see him and some of the other fellers gawping at the sidewalks and the buildings seven stories high.

Huh?

What on earth do electric belts do?

It can't be KCMO

There's not a cowboy hat in sight. Maybe we can learn something from this picture, gentlemen.

Herr Doktor will see you now

Click to enlarge. Woof!

 
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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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