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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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Third and Vine: 1900

Third and Vine: 1900

Cincinnati circa 1900. "Burnet House and Chamber of Commerce, Third and Vine." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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!

Burnet House

Was nosing through the website of the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table, and tripped over a bit of interesting Burnet House history.

Air switch

An interesting detail of a twin pole trolley line is the air switch (Can be seen in front of the alcove at the level of the second floor) or air trolley crossing. These are usually difficult to maintain, sensitive to corrosion and cost money. The major point, why why this system has not become established.

Re: Twin Poles

Cincinnati was not the only city using twin trolley poles for their streetcars. Such systems were used to minimize stray current from the streetcar system. Usually, the single trolley wire carried the positive DC voltage, and the steel wheels and rails carried the negative side. Since the rails were in contact with the ground, some portion of the current will pass through the earth. This can cause corrosion in underground metal pipes and other long metal structures. By using two wires, one can be the positive and the other the negative, avoiding heavy current flowing through the rails.

When trolley buses were introduced, two wires were required, since there are no rails.

Chamber of Commerce Fire

The H.H. Richardson designed Chamber of Commerce Building caught fire in 1911. The upper floors, suspended from the roof trusses in order to provide a clear span over the main hall below, collapsed taking the rest of the building with them. The Union Central Tower (now PNC Tower) was built on the site shortly after.

Twin Poles

Was this trolley line unique in having dual poles taking current from dual overhead wires?

The Flag

What is the flag on the right for? Trolley stop flag?


Come this September streetcars will return to Cincinnati for the first time since the 1950's. It has been a long and torturous road.

Neat looking streetlight

Those streetlights down the street sure are neat looking. I wonder if the light they emitted was tinted, but probably not. I don't think "vapor" or "mercury" were used at that time.

[They're carbon arc lamps. -tterrace]

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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