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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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School Zone: 1915

School Zone: 1915

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1915. "Old Central High School." Now Wayne State University's "Old Main." Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Tonal Range

Talk about your perfect exposure, detail in all but the darkest shadows and whitest highlights, and every possible shade of grey in between -- magnificent photo!

Mailbox fight

Well, sfnative2, you're undoubtedly right about this larger box, but I myself have personal experience with regular collection boxes being used for relays. When I started with the Petaluma PO in 1985 there was still one walking route left and the standard-sized collection boxes along it were used for relays; occasionally I had to run out and drop them off. They could easily accomodate a #3 sack of mail.

Re: Big and Small

This picture depicts two different styles of collection boxes. The smaller one is most likely for letters and small cards while the larger box would be for more bulky items. The larger box is definitely not a relay box. They do not have handles for depositing mail, and the opening in the front is WAY too small for dropping off relay sacks. I speak from 34 years of experience!


Hilberry Theater built 1916. Can someone tell me why the leafy trees in these old photos look so lacy? I have always loved the way they looked.

[As noted below by bmanther, what's now the Hilberry Theatre at Cass and Hancock Avenues started out as the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Designed by Field, Hinchman and Smith; constructed 1915-17. - Dave]

Current view.

re: Big and Small

The small one on the post is the one customers mail letters in. The big one is probably a relay box, used to store the mail for the next portion of the carrier's delivery route. This is how foot, as opposed to mounted (i.e., using a vehicle), routes work. There's too much mail for the carrier to take all at once. But since I don't see the "Not for deposit of mail" inscription usually marked on relay boxes, but do see a handle for opening the chute, perhaps it's used for both relays and mail deposit, as is sometimes the case.

Big and Small

I'm curious why there would be two mailboxes. I grew up with the small one on my street, it was around until about 2000.

Stunning Scene

What a lovely, idyllic scene. To think we once invested in public education in such a big way.

First women to graduate 1910

My wife's grandmother was the first female student to graduate from Central High School in 1910. Both my wife and I took classes in Old Main back in the late 1960s. The building underwent major renovation years ago and looks much like this photo. Both Cass Avenue and Warren Avenue are much wider today.

The "Traffic Light"

looks suspiciously like the switch lamps that were used in rail yards to indicate the direction of the points. Also of note, the shovel to the right, to clean up after your own horse? And those street signs on the pole to the right of the officer sure look awfully small! Can you imagine trying to read them at night? Must be Detroit's version of the driver's eye exam!

Hilberry Theater

That's the Hilberry Theater (originally the First Church of Christ, Scientist) under construction in the background. If anyone could figure out when it was built, we could date this picture pretty precisely.

Also, that's a high school? Don't build em like that any more.

Old Main Memories

I graduated from Wayne State and spent many hours in Old Main. Great Memories!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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