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.
Vintage photos of:
The year is 1912 and the place is Detroit. What's going on here? View full size.
UPDATE: Many people correctly identified this as the beginnings of a gas holder, or gasometer -- a storage reservoir for what used to be called "city gas," or coal gas (as opposed to the natural and LP gas that we use now). The original caption: "April 4, 1912. Foundation for gas holder, Detroit City Gas Company."