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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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On the Grid: 1900

On the Grid: 1900

Circa 1900. "Baltimore City Hall." Rising behind a web of wires. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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What Are Those Things?

Wondering what those chimney like devices are on the wings; good to see they survived the renovations, but what were they for?

[Chimneys for the steam-heating system is my guess. A large building like this would need a lot of them. - tterrace]

Watering can

I'd be surprised if that watering can didn't contain something like paint thinner to wipe up drips on the pavement. It doesn't look like he's masking things off.

Man on the corner

I imagine he was doing then what I'm doing now, wondering what the heck that watering can is doing at the curb. There is not one flower, shrub, window box or planter in sight in any direction. I don't see any sanitation guys around, and that can is too small for their purposes anyway I would think. Just another of many mysteries these old scenes present to us.

[Possibly associated with the bucket of - what? Tar, perhas? - tterrace]

Well, it may perhave something to do with that paint can with the tip of a brush handle sticking up out of it. It just looks too clean to be related. Both seem lonely and out of place.

Old Balto

Growing up in Balto during the 1950s, there were still cobblestone (brick) pavements to be found.
Fruit and vegetable vendors, using horse-drawn carts, traveled throughout the city. They were called "arabbers". It was a thrill for a city kid to see such sights - not to mention the bananas and watermelons.
Sadly, much of old Balto has deteriorated, and the civic pride, evidenced by such a building, is gone.


Baltimore must have been very nice then.

It's mighty grim now.

This explains the damp pencil

It bears mentioning that George Frederick was all of 21 when he put his pencil to paper and designed this beautiful building, so the expression "wet behind the ears" certainly applies to the young but destined-to-be-successful architect. I have attended a number of meetings there and I wonder what Boy George would think of the metal scanner that greets each visitor nowadays.

His descendants have this Web site that will tell you a lot about Mr. Frederick. I see that his brother, Alphonse, and I attended the same college but a few years apart. OK, many years.

Where the "B'hoys" are

Designed by George Frederick, City Hall was built in 1875. It escaped the Baltimore Fire in 1904, and was restored in the mid 1970's at a cost of $10.5 million. A new Hall would likely have cost about as much, but without any of the class.

Baltimore's political leaders/followers/hangers-on/bootlicks and assorted general characters ["B'hoys"] have done an awful lot of wheeling and dealing inside these walls in that time.

Cat's heads

Here in Poland, we call "cat's heads" these type of rock road.

Not changed much

112 years later and it still looks pretty much the same.


The guy sitting on the window sill is probably waiting for someone to buy whatever is in the crates that are on the curbside in front of him. If that's not the case, it might be the Mayor on a smoke break.

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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