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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Roofs of Baltimore: 1912

Roofs of Baltimore: 1912

Circa 1912. "Baltimore from the Emerson tower." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Too bad we can't see the tower itself.

I think at this point of its history it still had the Bromo-Seltzer water bottle on top.

Google Earth Modern Equivalent

With the knowledge of what direction the photo faces and the revelation that The Emerson Building is The Bromo-Seltzer Tower, and finding no equivalent, modern-day view available, I did my best to recreate the shot in Google Earth. You can see the results here.

Very few of the old buildings are there still, or at least are visible. Of particular note is the BALTIMORE BARGAIN HOUSE sign, still visible today. That advertisement may have been there for 100 years by now.


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Baltimore Arena

The Baltimore Bargain House is still standing, too (it's now a state office building ), but everything in the foreground, including the couple blocks of Liberty Street that run diagonally, was razed when the Baltimore Arena was built. The street at the bottom of the picture is the first block of South Howard.

BGE Building

The tall white building on the left with the arch windows on the top floor (and the Spy vs. Spy chimney) is the Baltimore Gas and Electric Building, completed in 1916. Now converted into condos and known as "39 Lexington." Based on the angle, this photo may have been taken from the top of the Emerson Building, AKA Bromo-Seltzer tower.

[Another clue would be the caption: ""Baltimore from the Emerson tower." - Dave]

City Hall!

Seeing the Continental Building to the right of the clock tower and the dome of City Hall to the left of the buildings to the left of the same clock tower, and knowing that Continental is at Baltimore & Calvert (see Continental's Shorpy post) and City Hall is two blocks North and one block West of Continental, we can say this was taken facing East, though I haven't figured out just where the camera was.

[There might be a clue in the caption. - Dave]

Breathtaking, once again

I was thinking: no other place I visit on the Web gives so much entertainment and enlightenment per click, day after day.

Hamburger & Sons

I was expecting someone to question the YMBOD on the side of the Iaasac Hamburger & Sons building.

(Your Money Back On Demand)

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Prominent dome right of center on the hazy horizon.

What ARE they doing?

I think I know, but it sure look nuts!

Hamburgers

I saw the sign for "Hamburgers" on that tall building and thought it was a really big fast-food place. The other sign explains that it is a clothing store.

Skip Luke

Rooftop appurtenances

I've always found the mechanical appurtenances on building tops interesting. The purpose of some -- smokestacks and water tanks -- is obvious but many others, like those tentlike structures, are a mystery especially since this was before the days of air-conditioning equipment.

[Those are ventilators. Also many skylights. - Dave]

Continental Building

On the right in the distance, immediately to the right of the clock tower, is the Continental Building, seen here.

What has been seen

... cannot be unseen!

Acme Tires

Insert Wile E. Coyote joke here.

 
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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