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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 • CARNIVAL OF THE ARTS, 1937

Ferry Terminal: 1905

Ferry Terminal: 1905

Philadelphia circa 1905. "Pennsylvania Railroad ferry terminal, Market Street." There's a lot going on in this bustling street scene. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Extension Ladder Safety

The man working on the electric lines to the right has used an extension ladder, and if you look closely you can see he has used the rope that raises the extension to tie the lower part of the ladder to the wood pole. Today he would be in a "giraffe" truck, and the area would be marked out with traffic cones, and no doubt there would be a flagger or two.

Electric Trains

The Pennsylvania RR electric trains to Millville from the other end of this ferry line also had a branch from Newfield via Mays Landing to the Tennessee Avenue station in Atlantic City. Electricity was replaced by steam and internal combustion due to the Depression. Give Shorpy time and he'll find a photo of the Electric Train wreck on the Beach Thorofare drawbridge in 1906.

Electric trains?

I am unaware of any PRR electric trains that served Atlantic City. The only electrified line the PRR ran from it's its Camden terminal in New Jersey went south to Millville, in Cumberland County.

A very tight curve.

This was one of the busiest places in Philadelphia, where thousands of people took the ferry to Camden. Some to work in places like Campbell Soup and The Victor Talking Machine Co. Others rushed into trains to Atlantic City and suburban towns. Note the sign showing the brand-new electric trains. A few years later, the Market Street Subway came out of the ground onto an elevated right down along the waterfront. When bigger trolleys arrived a few years later, the tracks were cut back to a loop on top of that hill.

On the cusp of a revolution

This is a beautiful shot of life just as the gasoline engine was changing the world. Electric streetcars, an electric delivery truck (?) and a sign advertising electric trains with horse drawn wagons as a counterpoint. Three years in the future the Model T is introduced and America got wheels.

Follow the tracks!

I don't think I've seen something like this before, where a complete streetcar loop's laid out right in the middle of a street. Usually it's track laid around a block or a loop like that in a lot off the side of the road.

Two-truck Streetcars

Complete with windshields for the conductor and a cowcatcher net to save errant pedestrians from a horrible death -- pretty cutting edge in 1905.

Worcester Salt

Living near Worcester, Mass., I was interested in the sign for Worcester Salt. Interestingly, while there is no connection to Worcester, one of Worcester Salt's three factories was located in Ecorse, Michigan, a place I'd only JUST heard of in the previous Shorpy photo. God, I love this place!

That does it!

I'm going out to buy an 8x10 view camera.

A Lineman for the County.

A very tough dangerous job back then. No bucket truck for you.

 
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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