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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Savannah Electric: 1905

Savannah Electric: 1905

Savannah, Georgia, circa 1905. "Broughton Street, looking east." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Proud Beggar

He may be poor and begging, but he is not without pride. Despite his handicap (club foot?) his hair is cut, combed and parted; he's wearing a suit; and appears to be clean shaven. One has to wonder how he came to this, and what his ultimate fate was.

More Broughton Street

Another view of that busy street a few years later, after automobiles started sharing the pavement with horses.

Savannah

Fifty-five years after this photo was taken, on this very street, civil rights history was made. On March 16, 1960, black students staged a sit-in at eight downtown lunch counters, and three were arrested. The NAACP demanded desegregation of public accomodations, and the hiring of black clerks and managers, and they called for a boycott of white-owned downtown stores. The boycott was successful, causing some of the stores to go bankrupt. In October of 1961, the city agreed to desegregate parks, swimming pools, busses, restaurants and other public accomodations.

It's ALIVE!

This is one of the most evocative photos I've seen on Shorpy. As I gaze at the enlarged version, I imagine I hear the clip-clop of horses, their occasional neighs and mild snorts, the sound of the streetcar bell and its wheels rolling on the track, the rumble of people talking and sometimes shouting. I can almost feel the pavement under my feet (and know to watch out for the many piles of horse manure) and imagine what it was like to look into the store windows.

After many months of perusing Shorpy, I'm starting to feel more at home in my imagination of another age.

The time machine was set to run backwards

Today Savannah looks much less urban and more nineteenth-century.

Savannah Electric

The Savannah Electric/Edison Light store was probably owned by the local gas and electric utility. This was not unusual, the lighting company not only provided the power but sold the appliances as well. They had an edge, the ability to add the payments for the refrigerator or stove to the customer's monthly utility bill.

Daisy

I'm thinking that the young lady is carrying a dozen donuts on a plate balanced atop her hairdo.

Hat selection

I'm seeing at least 3 hat stores, 2 at left, 1 at right. The hatless man at left has something in his hand that might be a hat.

I find approx. 37 men in hats in this shot.

Dept. of Sanitation

This is the first time I noticed such a well dressed "pooper scooper" in Shorpy's pictures!

Re: Stand Back

Possibly Rickets. Symptoms include short stature and bone deformity, particularly leg bone. It is caused by vitamin D deficiency, often due to lack of sunshine exposure or lack of calcium.

Wow, the panhandler...

Sitting there in a suit. Looks like he has a set of club feet. What a photo inside the photo.

Pick me!

Just a few daisies on that hat.

Stand back

Anybody care to hazard a guess as to what's going on with this guy's legs?

Dental Mystery

What on earth was a "NEW YORK DENTAL PARLOR"? Sounds a bit ominous.

Hat in hand

A closeup of the panhandler and his crutches.

 
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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