SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

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]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

High Wires: 1936

High Wires: 1936

April 1936. "Chicago & Milwaukee tracks. Housing alongside electric railroad. Milwaukee freight yards and industrial plants overshadowed by residential district." Photo by Carl Mydans, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

The Cutoff

The scene is of the Milwaukee Road "cutoff," on the west end of the railroad terminal in Milwaukee Wisconsin. The switches visible were all hand thrown by a switch tender housed in the small shanty seen between the tracks. In about 1949 the entire plant was electrified with dual control switches, remotely controlled by an operator on duty 24/7. Second and third trick cutoff duty was my pleasure in the early 1980s.

The electric railroad mentioned was The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company, generally referred to as "the rapid transit" by locals. After a name change or two the company went out of business after a terrible head on wreck in 1950.

The "housing alongside electric railroad" is to this day known as the Merrill Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, and in 1936 it was just about all Irish. (None of the buildings at the bottom of the hill are there now.) Many of the men living in Merrill Park worked in the Milwaukee Road Shops, just out of view on the left side of the picture.

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.