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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

The Banana Wagon: 1943

The Banana Wagon: 1943

May 1943. Houston, Texas. "Old house fruit stand on Franklin Street." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. 900 Franklin Street today from above. View full size.

 

Fredericks House

The earliest owner of this house I have been able to find is Gus Fredericks, the owner of a jewelry store, as listed in the U.S. Census of 1900. His wife was Lottie and they had three children: John, Pierce, and Julia. His sister Louise Wagner and her daughter Lilian were also living there along with another nephew Gus B. Fredericks.

I believe the correct address is 1902 Franklin Avenue. The curb sign for 1900Franklin Street identifies the block in Houston. The layout of the house on the property at 1902 Franklin Ave., shown below, matches the photo shown in this Shorpy image.

This picture below is from the 1907 Sanborn Map of Houston, Volume 1, Sheet 11. The link to the original picture is below. If you click on the image that opens it will magnify the picture. There was another smaller house here that this one replaced sometime between 1896 and 1907. The address was originally 242 Franklin on earlier Sanborn Maps.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/sanborn/g-i/txu-sanborn-houston-1907-vol1...

The property was approximately 80' X 100' and was on the Southeast (South directionally) corner of Franklin (a brick street) and Hamilton (a gravel street). It was just a block from Firehouse Number 10 which had 7 men, 4 horses, one hose wagon, one steamer, and 2000' of hose. There was a stable at the back of the Fredericks property.

The circular turret on the third floor is interesting because it does not look like there is any way to enter it. The Sanborn drawing shows the house as two floors, so perhaps the entire third floor is just a crawl space or attic area.

In 1940, Rudolph Martinez was living here with his wife Candalanca and son Rudolph, Jr. Living with them were Rudolph's sister Isabell Samora and her two children Raymond and Joe Louis. Rudolph was 30 years old and a chef at a night club. Perhaps that's Rudolph behind the fruit cart in the street.

White Out

Even Kodachrome shows the Houston summer sky as being white, not blue or gray. I've tried to explain this to people who've never lived there, and they find it hard to believe that it could be sunny and white-skied. My rejoinder is "Head there in August."

Modeling help?

Does anyone have any other angles of this wonderful structure, since it no longer stands? I would love to try and model this structure. Thanks Pat

Attic Window

Can anyone comment on the odd 3rd floor window? It's as if some picture has been pasted in over the original.

[Covered with tin signs. - Dave]

Banana Wagon/House

I remember this place...and thought it was Houston for sure when I saw the mosaic street name and block number on the curb (far right). There are still several of these mosaic street markers left that haven't been destroyed by road construction.

Color quality

1 word answer: Kodachrome

What House?

It seems to be all adornment and very little living space. That's the oddest Victorian I've ever seen.

Color

These are scanned from 4x5 inch Kodachrome transparencies and then color-corrected. It's hard to do better than large-format Kodachromes taken by a professional photographer. Digital has yet to equal that combination.

Does anybody know why the

Does anybody know why the color in these old photos looks so good?

I love the "painted" quality of the colors. Wish I could reproduce this effect in photoshop with my digital camera.

Thank heaven for the FSA

Now you're starting to post some of my personal favorites! I posted an article on FSA photography last summer, the subject never strays far from my heart! Thanks for a great site.

Here's what I had to say on the subject.

What a house- hasn't seen a

What a house- hasn't seen a coat of paint in years! Look at the attic window covered with an old sign.

 
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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