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Pittsburgh Noir: 1907

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, circa 1907. "A Mill Street." Fifty Shades of Black. 7x5 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, circa 1907. "A Mill Street." Fifty Shades of Black. 7x5 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Second that OMG

Alfred Stieglitz would buy this photo. Pale grey smoke- stacks fade into smoke. The black telephone pole breaks up what would be a distracting vanishing point perspective. The glow on the windows sills is wonderful. This is a photo you could stare at and enjoy forever. Stylistically very unusual for 1907. I agree with Mattie, I would have guessed it to be the 1930's. Anybody know the artist? They were ahead of their time. Gritty and hard: compare to other Shorpies of the Edwardian era, many often look posed, with a flat subject (building) dead center and no thought given to distractions (litter) or anything on the edges of the shot.

Lone Pedestrian

If you enlarge the picture, it appears there is a misty outline of a man crossing the street at the intersection just right of the fire hydrant. Either that or it is the creature from the black lagoon.

[Jack the Squiggler. - Dave]

When I first saw this

I said out loud, "OMG, what a photo!" Many thanks for posting this beauty!

London calling

I swear, this made me think of Sherlock Holmes. it looks like one of those dank nights that are always shown during a Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce whodunit.

Billy Joel said it.

"The good old days weren't always good." It's a stunning picture but due to the air quality I am so glad I did not live anywhere near Pittsburgh at the time it was taken.

Wow was my first reaction

If I ever produce an image this good, I am gonna throw away my camera.


And spooky.

Wow is old hat now, but WOW

This is an absolutely stunning photo.


I had to read the caption twice - I would've thought this photo was from the 1930s or even the WWII era. It's a stunning image. I can just picture the men working the night shift in those factories while their families sleep in the little row houses.

What Time of Day Is It?

Considering that this is Pittsburgh in the bad old days of smokestack industry, can we be sure that this is NOT a daytime photograph?

Dark Shadows


That has to be one of the most fantastic photos I have ever seen on Shorpy.


Not often do I see an image and go WOW, but this image got that reaction from me. Yes I even said WOW out loud.

What a picture!

This is stunning. Smoke, light, shadow, dark. The feeling is that of a true Hollywood film noir. Who knows what lurks in the shadows of those row houses? Just looking at this makes my lungs ache from the acrid smell of the furnaces. DPC did some truly amazing work. Well done Shorpy, keep em' coming!


Now we all know where rizzman1953's Grandpa (or Grandma) came from.

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