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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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That Great Street: 1912

That Great Street: 1912

On State Street, that great street, I just want to say
They do things they don't do on Broadway.
They have a time, the time of their life --
I saw a man who danced with his wife
In Chicago, Chicago my hometown.

Chicago circa 1912. "The busy crowd on State Street." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Can anyone identify the building?

Just out of architectural curiosity, what is the ornate little building next door to Mandel Bros.? Somebody sure had fun designing that place!

I am not surprised by the crowds ...

Remember, folks, for years the corner of State and Madison Streets (shown here) was touted - on post cards and other media - as "the busiest corner in the world!"


I can't see even ONE person doing things they don't do on Broadway. Do they only do them at night ? ? ?

re: Crowded Streets

The opposite sidewalk is closed for construction, doubling the crowd on the near sidewalk. Still a hell of a lot of people.


In answer to loujudson's question, all of those people are now in their cars. The sidewalk is easy to traverse, but the street has bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Such crowded streets!

I am amazed at the density of the crowds in images like this. I haven't been in a busy downtown in years, but it seems incredible to see so many people crowding the sidewalks! It is wall to wall people, or storefront to curb anyway. In my lifetime I have only seen crowds like this during parades etc.

Was this normal in turn of the century cities?

Same question applies for the beach scenes with only inches between quaintly costumed revelers...

Mercer or Stutz?

Marshall Fields clock center background at the corner of Sate and Madison. I'm going to guess that is a Stutz or a Mercer parked at the curb.

Good grief!

Is that a man dancing with his wife under the Marshall Field clock?

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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