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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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Indy Pano: 1907

Indy Pano: 1907

Circa 1907. "Indianapolis, Indiana." One of the many points of interest here is the cryptic sign "FIND THE WHEN." Other landmarks include ... well you tell me. Ginormous panorama made from four 8x10 glass plates. View full size.

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Learn more

Awhile back I posted these photos on my Flickr page and annotated the images with links to some history articles that I and others wrote on Historic Indianapolis (a great web site for Indy history). Click on these links to learn more:

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3


Please excuse this overused adjective, but stitching together 4 photos makes such an impressive cityscape. This must take the award for most detailed Shorpy photo to date! Wish you could find a few photos of South Bend, 150 miles north of Indy.

Vonnegut Hardware

Indianapolis, An Outline History, 1902.
Max R. Hyman, editor.

Notable Retail Establishments.

Vonnegut Hardware Company—The Vonnegut Hardware Company, wholesale and retail dealers, 120-124 East Washington street, is the development of a business that was established originally in 1851 by Mr. Clemens Vonnegut, sr., and in 1898 assumed the present style, with Mr. Clemens Vonnegut and his three sons, Clemens Vonnegut, jr., Franklin Vonnegut and Geo. Vonnegut, as partners. Their five-story and basement building, 45 x 200 feet, contains a very large and complete stock, including the best and finest productions of leading American manufacturers and the finest imported articles, the assortment embracing builders' and cabinet hardware. machinery, tools, manufacturers' supplies, meat market outfits. Imported and domestic cutlery, household hardware, etc. Besides their large retail trade, they have heavy wholesale business covering Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and the South, and employ four traveling salesmen. This firm is a member of the Retail Merchants' Association.

Wonder what the WHEN was?

Was this a contest of some sort, or just a clever ad to get people to go looking for the WHEN?

[Explained in a previous comment. - tterrace]

I missed it somehow, thank you. Interesting story.

What's still there??

I'm sure that I'm not alone among Shorpyites in that the first thing I do when seeing a panorama like this is to fire up Google Maps and try to find things that are still there.

Other than the obvious stuff like the state capitol and the soldiers' monument, there is a block of nearly unchanged small stores along Delaware Street just north of Market, and a large building now called the "symphony center" at 29 East Washington.

A walk around the monument circle in street view reveals a couple of buildings that might have been extant in 1907, unfortunately they are obscured in the panorama. There are certainly many more I've missed.

from a transplant

I moved to Indy from elsewhere and recognized a number of the buildings. The view is to the North, the Soldier's and Sailor's monument is in the right, the Indiana Statehouse with flag is visible past that. I'm trying to figure out where it was taken from, but can't think of what tall buildings are located in the right spot that would have been around at that time. I'll post to some of the native Hoosiers I know and see what they recognize. What a great photo!

Found the WHEN!


WHEN? in large letters was all that people of Indianapolis saw in the windows of a building located at 30-40 North Pennsylvania Street for several months. In order to pique the public's interest, before the clothing store opened in 1885, owner John T. Brush, initiated a teaser campaign. For several months he advertised in the newspaper the store's arrival by simply printing the word "When" in full page ads in large block letters.

He then went on to print "Where," and had plans to print "What", which he never used. At some point during the advertising campaign he added "When" to the windows of the store. By the time the store opened, "When" stuck. The public did not like any other name chosen, so Brush named his new clothing store, "When Store."

Kurt Vonnegut?

He was born in Indanapolis, possibly related somehow to the Vonnegut Hardware Co?

[Founded by his great-grandfather, Clemens Vonnegut, Sr. - tterrace]

Stunning work editing it together

If this was from four plates, it sure doesn't show it. I couldn't find a stitch point.

Also, the "Cut rate drugs" sign made me chuckle!

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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