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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Flatiron: 1903

The Flatiron: 1903

The Flatiron Building circa 1903, with Broadway on the left and Fifth Avenue on the right, and lots of street traffic all around this early skyscraper shortly after its completion. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

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Pach Brothers Studio

Actually Pach Brothers Studio continued operation (at a different location until 1994. I took portrait classes from the last owner, Oscar White. Interesting man, he did presidential portraits form either FDR or Truman to at least Johnson as he brought that portrait into our class to show us. I took his classes in the mid-1970s to late 1970s. More information is available here.

Cable cars, absolutely!

The streetcars visible are all cable cars.

The Metropolitan Street Railway main line ran along Broadway from Battery Place up to 7th Ave, and then along 7th to 59th Street at Central Park. One of its branches ran along 23rd Street to Lexington Ave (right in front of the Flatiron here) and up to 105th street.

[These are electric streetcars. The traction line on Broadway was converted to electric power in 1901. Below, news item from May 27, 1901. - Dave]

Have You Noticed?

In just about any early photo of the Flatiron Building you can see one or more brave souls roaming around on the lower ledges. I suppose today that'd be the Designated Smoking Area!

Manhattan Traction

Here's the Cable Building at Broadway and Houston Street in Manhattan. Built in 1893 to turn the cables of Manhattan's traction cars, which first started running in the mid-1880s. The basement housed the steam engines and cable wheels.

[An impressive infrastructure that was phased out in favor of electric streetcars in the early 1900s. - Dave]

A wonder of the age

What a great shot but I have to wonder; what makes all those trolley's go? No overhead wires but it seems a slot between the tracks. Cable cars?

[They're electric streetcars. The power supply is underground. - Dave]

Pach Brothers, Photographers

At least five NYC locations since 1867 for these portrait photographers of some repute. The last shop closed in 1947. The studio here was 925 Broadway. The retail operation in the building was a firm called Van Gaasbeck Oriental something. The building still stands; the ground floor houses a Restoration Hardware that is usually deserted.


Always a treat to see another shot of this iconic building as it was intended to look.

What a Beauty!

As much of a beauty now as it was in 1903!

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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