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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Guys and Docks: 1903

Guys and Docks: 1903

Detroit circa 1903. "Swimming pool at Belle Isle Park." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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The "Swimming pool..." refered to is actually the Detroit River, an American Heritage River.

Eastward Ho

This is a picture of the original Belle Isle bath house and beach, which was on the western part of the island, west of the bridge and adjacent to the original ferry landing. In 1909 the beach was moved to the center part of the island, where it would have less exposure to the Detroit River's strong currents. A new bath house (which Shorpy has shown in previously posted photos of Belle Isle) was built well to the east of the Boat Club building shown in the background here. That "new" bath house is now long gone too, but the beach remains, and is still open to the public for swimming during the summer months.


I'm telling you guys, Stripes are what's in for 1903, Solids are so 19th century.

A Bridge Too Far

The bridge in the background is the original iron-and-wood Belle Isle Bridge which burned and was destroyed in 1915, and was replaced by the current bridge in 1923 (originally named the George Washington Bridge, it was renamed the MacArthur Bridge in 1942). Beyond the bridge appears to be the Detroit Boat Club (a rowing club). Their clubhouse, the first concrete building in the United States, was erected in 1902 to replace wooden clubhouses which burned in 1893 and 1901.

[The Boat Club is said to be first building in America "constructed entirely out of reinforced concrete." - Dave]

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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