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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 • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Little Rock: 1910

Little Rock: 1910

Little Rock, Arkansas, circa 1910. "Main Street north from Sixth." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Three legged horse

In the lower right just next to Hollenburg Music is a wagon or cart being drawn by a horse with three legs. And The cart has no wheels, just these strange bow-shaped objects beneath it. Now I KNOW that movement blurs things in long exposures, but would it distort the straight spokes of a wagon wheel and remove a horses leg? (That wagon must have been moving at quite a clip!)

[The fourth, invisible, leg is the one that didn't stop moving during the exposure. The curved-spokes artifact is seen in many of these images, including the one below. The spokes are revolving around an axis that's moving linearly. You can approximate the effect by loosely holding a pencil at its center and waving it up and down so it looks "rubbery." - Dave]

Bracy Hardware

Thanks for this photo! On the right side of the street is the E.D. Bracy Hardware Store. It was named for Eugene Daniel Bracy (b. Dec. 7, 1876).

His brother, William Frederick Bracy (b. May 17, 1870; d. Nov. 13, 1934), also worked at this store and was married to my great-aunt Frankie Newton (b. Sept. 11, 1877; d. June 9, 1944).

I've only seen, prior to this photo, only fuzzy postcard views of the street and buildings, so this is quite the treat!

Now and Then

What consistently strikes me about the "now vs. then" picture comparisons is that the present day views are devoid of pedestrians and therefore feel without character - lifeless, even (another example here). I'd much rather visit the "then" places than the "now." Maybe I'd see Minnesota Fats sauntering out of one of those pool halls with a pocket full of sucker bucks.

Kress

We see the five and dime store, Kress. Kress, a national chain in its day, is not to be confused with SS Kresge, that company survived to found Kmart and eventually control Sears as well. The company is now called Sears Holding.

Blocks and Blocks of Wonderful Buildings

If you follow the buildings on down the street, you can see what a pretty downtown Little Rock had.

It has a few businesses that were also in Dallas in that time. The ones I can spot are Kress Variety Store, Droughon's Business School and Metropolitan Life Insurance.

Note the sign that designates the corner. In those days they often met each other on the corner of two main streets. In our Dallas history I have found that prominent corners were often used by speakers to make public announcements.

Also, whey does Colorado have a Boulder, and Arkansas only has a Little Rock? Is it because rocks that roll down the Rockies are bigger than rocks that roll down the Ozarks?

Waiting Outside the Pool Hall

The woman in front of the pool hall with her hand on her hip could be aggravated because her husband is loitering in the pool hall. But, again, she could be positioned in a great place to attract some customers. You never know. Men were men and women were women back in those days too.

Dark arms

About those crossarms on the power poles: they're all black, or heavily coated in creosote.

[Those are telephone lines on what look to be metal crossarms. - Dave]

Pool Hall

I bet the woman standing on the corner in the hat and full length frock THOROUGHLY disapproves of the Pool Hall!

In fact she's probably telling those guys next to her exactly where they'll be going if they go in there.

Some of it remains, but not much

The large white building to the left (The Boyle Building) still stands, while (unfortunatly) the domed Masonic Temple to the right burned in 1919.


View Larger Map

More pics and stories from the site of this photo

Little Rock's first skycraper

The white building on the left is the 12 story Boyle Building. It was built in 1909. I believe the pic was taken closer to an area midway between 7th and 8th street. The building with the dome on the right is no longer there and I don't remember it from the 40's or 50's.

Smoking and Playing Pool

Imagine a place to play pool and smoke too. My how times have changed.

Local

This is the same view I see from the front door of our office, the AR DHS building. I don't recognize a lick of this.

Don' step in the ...

I'm glad to live in a time and place where horse droppings in the middle of the street would be considered an oddity.

Ya got trouble!

Friends, lemme tell you what I mean.
Ya got one, two, three, four, five, six pockets in a table.
Pockets that mark the diff'rence
Between a gentlemen and a bum,
With a capital "B,"
And that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!

Gotta love Professor Harold Hill!

[He's especially loved today. - Dave]

 
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