SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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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Douglas Dam: 1942

Douglas Dam: 1942

June 1942. Construction work at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Douglas Dam. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

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Feats of Civil Engineering

My late grandpa used to work on dam sites just like this one, albeit probably a bit smaller, in Finland in the late forties, early fifties. He was a Marion operator, driving one of those monstrous backhoes that could pick up a small car in one fell... scoop. He used to transport workmen across the river in the scoop itself. It held eight cubic meters, he insisted.

Makes one wonder about these great feats of civil engineering, accomplished by such small creatures as men with a lot of planning and some big machines. A lot was done by hand, too, where these days we have strange machines and novel ways of molding concrete pours and advanced reinforcement techniques.

But man, that is one huge site!

[They had their share of strange machines back then, too. Below is another view of the same work site. - Dave]

Kodachrome again..

I still can't get over how I can instantly tell a Kodachrome on your site, and how amazingly crisp and colorful they are. Even a pic of a muddy construction site is so sharp and clear, it's a thing of beauty!

I also love how the Kodachrome's crispness and clarity gives you a you-are-there feeling, looking at one from the 1940's or 50's. So vivid and sharp.

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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