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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Municipal Castle: 1906

Municipal Castle: 1906

Birmingham, Alabama, circa 1906. "Jefferson County Court House." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

The SLOW sign for streetcars

It is most interesting to me, as my grandfather was a streetcar conductor in Birmingham at the time of the photo, and pictures I have seen of the streetcars at that time showed a lot of unpaved streets there.

Sloppy wiring

Has anyone noticed that one of the wires on the pole in the lower left foreground has slipped off the insulator and is laying lying on the crossarm? Something I've noticed in vintage Shorpy photos is how incredibly sloppy utility wiring practices were in those days. It's common to see things that would never be permitted today.

Awnings and decorative sculpture

I am fascinated by the awnings that scrunch up like a woman's bonnet, as well as by the odd little owlet-looking critter sculptures, who crouch under a scroll. I could stand all day on that lawn just looking at its intricate features (and pet a dog while doing so).

Let us call it "mud"

They should pull those wagons with Utilitors. They they wouldn't have all that "mud" in the street. (I for one am grateful for the development of the internal combustion engine).

Shadowlands

I love all the shadows in this picture. The trees, the horses, the man walking across the street. Cool.

Not only Bikes

could be left alone, but horses and buggies too - and no parking meters.

The Jailhouse

And right behind the Castle is what appears to be the Birmingham jail with its high wall.

Definitely not ADA compliant

Those stupendous curbs come up nearly to the hubs of the bikes. That should be around a foot in height.

Still there

Well the church is, anyway. The Cathedral of St. Paul was completed in 1893 at a cost of approximately $90,000.

The courthouse was completed in 1887 on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue N and 21st Street N (now Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. N). This building replaced a smaller two-story brick version built on the same site in 1875. The 1887 courthouse served the county's needs until 1931 when the present courthouse was completed just up 21st Street between 7th and 8th Avenues N.


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"SLOW"

I guess that was for the streetcars.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Right on the courthouse lawn.

Free Bikes

I love how they could just leave their bikes by the side of the street without a second thought about the possibility of them being stolen.

 
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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