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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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Old Gold: 1906

Old Gold: 1906

Louisville, Kentucky, circa 1906. "A tobacco market." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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My house in Louisville

My house, a two-story shotgun on the edge of the Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville, was built one year before this picture was taken, and presumably stood very close by. I'd like to imagine that one of these guys lived in it, or had at least visited. Probably one of the laborers over on the left-hand side of the frame -- all those dudes in the middle with the derby hats look wealthy, and this was not a wealthy man's house.

Re: The Skylight

Natural light was necessary to see the true color and condition when grading tobacco prior to auction. Here in the Bull City, the auctions would open around 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. and would close in the early afternoon.

Good times

Look at the expressions on the faces of most of the people in this photograph. Most are smiling. What did they know?

The skylight

provided excellent illumination for this photograph. When it got dark the carbon filament light bulbs would have provided a very soft, dim light. I love the wiring arrangement along the rafters for the lighting. It reminds me of the knob and tube wiring still in use in my 1928 home. Did this building originally have gas lighting? There appear to be gas brackets hanging from horizontal beams.

Topside Barrels

I'm OK with a smoke now and again into my Social Security years but I'm wondering about those barrels up top. They look like they could hold a lot of beer if permitted to be put to a useful purpose. A good smoke and a beer can be a good deal.

[Those "barrels" are hogsheads full of tobacco. -Dave]

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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