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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Cadillac Square Building: 1918

Cadillac Square Building: 1918

"Real Estate Exchange, Detroit." Shown around the time of its completion in 1918, this Gothic wedding cake of an office tower was known for most of its 58 years as the Cadillac Square Building. Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

 

Eyestrain anyone?

Reversed billboard: 'Waitt & Bond 10 cent Cigars'.

"Fight for France"

That poster looks a lot like this billboard

Gothic Architecture

I find it interesting that people are surprised to see Gothic architecture used in a commercial context. In its heyday in the late Middle Ages, Gothic was used for the various guild halls and town halls, as much as for churches. It's very much a commercial style as well as ecclesiastical.

Cool things in the picture include the World War I recruiting office in the middle of the square, with the army bivouac tents, and the poster that says (I think) "Fight for France."

Definitely a double exposure. The lady next to the kiosk in the lower left corner seems beside herself.

I just noticed it

Very well-placed Shorpy in that pic!

My Vote

A time machine. How could it be anything else?

Actual time machine

Commenters often mention the time machine aspect of Shorpy street scenes, but here we have one in action. The chap in white shirtsleeves and suspenders crossing the street in the lower left is, at the very same time, also on the sidewalk ahead. And he's not the only one. Either this is one of the most incredible discoveries of the 20th Century, or it's a double exposure.

Exchange it, please!

I am a fan of most old ornate architecture. But that one has a facade only its architect could love.

Stone throne

Can someone explain the stone throne chair in the lower left corner? I noticed this also on the later Miser/Kaiser shot.

[It's the Cadillac Chair. - Dave]

Sadly, now a parking lot

A good summary of the building's history can be found here.

And a view of where it was (not the same camera angle):


View Larger Map

Ghosts of time past

What an interesting statement this photo makes as the ghosts of time recently past, when it was taken, become a seeming time machine into the distant past, as we look at it today.

Many photos have ghost blurs in them, but these moving people and cars are far more detailed than typical.
Their transparency gives you the feeling of action in this otherwise stationary scene.

Reminds me of the thermal photography they used to show us when we were children. They would show you where the deer used to be, in those pictures, by the temperature difference the warm-blooded animal left in the air.

Where's Quasimodo?

Really impressive. It's the first time I see a civilian building so much inspired by gothic churches. It lacks only bells in its top! What became of it?

 
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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