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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ROSES BY VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1890

Markham From Main: 1910

Markham From Main: 1910

Wrapping up our tour of Little Rock, Arkansas, circa 1910. "Markham Street west from Main." Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.

 

Nor Iron Bars

The iron bar with turnbuckle is a reinforcement for a pole that's under a great deal of stress. There are many wires going off to the right, very few to the left, and that would tend to make the pole bend. When the turnbuckle is tightened, the two "saddles" near top and bottom force the pole to straighten out. The arrangement is still used once in a while; most cities don't need it any more because the utilities are underground, and in the country there's usually plenty of space for a normal guy wire.

Tightly wrapping the part of the post under the most stress with iron wire helps prevent splinters from popping out, which would be the first sign of incipient failure, and keeps passing carriages from nicking it, which might cause a weak spot that could propagate into failure. The sheet-metal guard serves much the same purpose.

Unintended comic consequences

And now we see why "Spider-Man" was not set in Arkansas. Just think of the merchandising that Little Rock missed out on.

The Sweeper

No one has commented on the man atop the hotel's marquee sweeping it off. I hope he had the courtesy to warn the folks below when he was about to sweep a load off the edge.

Incidentally, the heavy iron bar on the left of the pole has a turnbuckle in it about half way down. It does not connect to the overhead wires, although it looks like it does.

As for a ground wires, they usually just go straight down the pole and into the ground. They never would get wrapped around the pole so many times.

What a Change

All these middle American cities like Little Rock -- with their miles of sturdy houses on tree-lined streets, brick and stone business districts, schools, colleges, urban transit, rail connections, and electric power and telephone systems - were raw prairie barely ninety years before. When you think about the literal building of 19th-century America, what was accomplished is astounding.

Wires

I'll bet the wires are to keep people from putting up leaflets.

[They're an electrical ground for the pole. See the cable running down the side. - Dave]

Can anyone explain

the wires around the bottom of the telephone poles? Perhaps to keep horses from chewing them.

[They seem to be ground wires. - Dave]

The New Capital

on the left is still there as the elegant Capital Hotel. Its surroundings aren't as cluttered looking now, and the hotel is looking much better about 100 years later and after a $24M renovation.

Hotel Marion on the right

This was a hangout for the legislators -- crony business no doubt. The hotel used to have a bar when I was in college called the Gar Hole. Another place for deals to be struck. Long gone now. Union Station is seen in the distance down Markham.

How Odd

Simply look at the hi-def version of the photo and scroll from the near corner to the left, which looks like a scene out of England to me, to the near right corner, which is more fitting to this photograph. It just looks like two different photographs of two different places. So odd!

 
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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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