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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 • FRENCH BICYCLE GODDESS, c. 1898

Gingerbread House: 1906

Gingerbread House: 1906

Montgomery, Alabama, circa 1906. "Perry Avenue." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Jim Crow?

Unfortunately, most of these prisoners were convicted of "Walking while Black". The town courts would routinely convict them of bogus offences and sentence them to hard labor, then rent them out for profit, legalized slavery.

Another Montgomery Victorian

This photo was taken in Montgomery, Ala., in 1910 according to the notation on the back. The neighborhood looks very similar, though I believe the address of this one is Washington Avenue. I also have a photo of a house built on the same spot that notes this house burned down in 1914, and the house to the right is gone, too. Such a tragedy!

Architects' Motto

"Sharpen the pencil and bin the restraint."

Prisoners at Work

I live in Texas, where we still use work gangs from the County Jail for civic maintenance, such as mowing courthouse lawns.

To be allowed on such a work gang -- the chains haven't been used in a long time -- is a privilege anxiously sought by the prisoners. They get to be out of the boring cell into the fresh air, people talk to them (talk to the Deputy monitoring them first!), and they get a small wage for it. The work is sometimes strenuous and often boring, but never terribly arduous, and they sometimes get a meal that isn't from the jail commissary. Prisoners can't participate unless they're well-behaved in the jail, so it's a "carrot" form of discipline. The City and County get their grounds kept up at an economical price. Nobody loses (we don't have ASCME here.)

Some years ago the County decided to give the prisoners work clothes that were more like street wear, chambray shirts and jeans. Unfortunately a couple of them exploited that to make their escape. They were caught, returned, and lost work privileges, and the Sheriff put the workers back into the old striped clothing.

Young Granddad

My grandfather was raised in this town and in 1906 would have been around 10 years old. How amazing to see the things he saw!

House hunting

When the wife and I were buying a home here in Missouri, we looked at many but we continued coming back to the older homes -- and settled on one that was built in the 1900s. Not quite as Victorian as these but it has character and style -- something we found totally lacking in newer homes.

Re: They still do that down South

Not to mention parts of Arizona!

Appropriate Neighbor

Except for the 2nd house, it's all gone now. The building next door (to the left looking from the street) is now occupied by bankruptcy attorneys.

There is a sign in the front yard of the remaining house. It's not clear enough to read, but I'm guessing it's for another law firm.

Paved in stone

I love the sidewalks. I wonder if these are paved over or still exist.

My favorite !

I want to live here ! A front facing flat would be fine.

They still do that down South

A few years back we went to South Carolina on vacation and were shocked to see prisoners in striped convict gear in gangs clearing brush by the roadways. It's different down South.

Grandeur style

On the railings of the first home on the left. Those were really nice. I'm sure it made the other homes jealous!

Strolling

I just noticed two women walking on the other side of the street in what looks like very formal dress - or was that their everyday wear?

I'd love to live in this neighborhood.

Not a weed in sight!

How many gardeners worked in the neighborhood?

502 South Perry

Could this be the leftmost house?

[Indeed it is! - Dave]


View Larger Map

Queen Anne

Would be proud!

Dollhouse Row

This is one of my favorite posts ever - looks like a row of dollhouses. I hope there are more from this street! I wish they still built them like this.

Trusty shovel

Looks like the chain gang was hiring out for lawn maintenance!

Frill follows function

Love the little balconies, but unless you want to check on the neighbors across the street, they don't seem very useful, barring a parade down your street. Of course Victorian doesn't seem to be real big on "useful" anyway.

Retirement Fund

An industrious house painter can practically be guaranteed full employment. Gorgeous but like painting the Golden Gate Bridge -- get to the end and start over.

So much to see in this photo -- intricate sidewalk, beautiful iron work banister, plentiful mounting blocks -- all telling me this is very much an upscale neighborhood.

Is that fellow in the background really wearing prison clothes?

Quaint!

That convict in striped jumpsuit -- looks like he's out cleaning the streets -- really adds to the homey atmosphere of this photo.

Guy in stripes

walking toward the camera looks like he might be part of a prison work detail.

 
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