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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Official Philly: 1912

Official Philly: 1912

        At 548 feet, Philadelphia City Hall, completed in 1901 with its clock tower topped by a statue of William Penn, is the world's tallest masonry building.

Philadelphia circa 1912. "Market Street west from Eleventh, with view of City Hall." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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City Hall Pens

A. Pomerantz ran one of the largest stationery and printing shops in Philadelphia at that time. This is a box of the steel dip pen nibs produced for them. The box dates to pre-1909 when they moved to 34-36 South 15th, just around the corner and to the left of the courthouse, from the perspective of the photographer.

The box may well date from not long after the courthouse was built as Pomerantz was in business from 1897.

Taller than Penn

I lived in Philadelphia up until the late 80's. Prior to the completion of One Liberty Place there were no buildings taller than the statue of William Penn on the City Hall building. After One Liberty there were a score of other ugly monoliths that began to pop up blocking the view of City Hall. So much for a gentlemen's agreement...

Still the tallest

And still the tallest unreinforced masonry tower in the world (there is no internal steel or concrete substructure.) The walls are over twenty feet thick at the base!


Below is the same view from October of 2013. (A similar view was previously featured on Shorpy

twirly dollop

I want to know what this is, but I couldn't find the clickable Google Street View arrow in the center of the street that would have allowed me to stroll virtually down there to take a look.

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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