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Rising Star: 1912

Rising Star: 1912

New York circa 1912. "Broadway, looking north from Cortlandt Street and Maiden Lane." Starring the Woolworth Building, in the final stages of construction. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Grandpa's bricks

My grandfather, a master brick layer from Wales, was sent to come on the Queen Mary with his wife and two sons, all passage paid, to supervise the laying of the bricks. Woolworth apparently drew on state of the art craftsmen from around the world.

Today, it's private property and you can't really visit this cathedral of early commerce any more.

Still in business

William Barthman is still in business but has relocated to the middle of the block on Broadway between Maiden Lane and John Street.

Mourning Jewelry

Back when mourning was a dictated social occasion, evidently women and men needed Mourning Jewelry to go with their black, grey or pale purple outfits (black for 2-3 years after death of the loved one, followed by an easing up to lighter colors as the years pass). This article from Collectors Weekly gives an idea of the materials employed in the making of Mourning Jewelry.

195 Broadway

This picture must have been taken just before construction started on the new AT&T headquarters building at 195 Broadway the first phase of which completed in 1916.

Brand Longevity

Nice to see that the Shorpy Company, which had its offices at Maiden Lane and Broadway over 100 years ago, is still extant. Crouch and Fitzgerald across the street lasted almost as long.

Small World

My great-grandfather had a haberdashery at 1 Maiden Lane in about the same time period.

Maiden Lane

Where my great-great-grandfather's jewelry manufacturing business was located in the same time period. Blancard & Co. was founded by Christian Blancard after he emigrated from Germany in 1871. His business was located at several locations in the city, but eventually ended up at 161 Maiden Lane. I can imagine him and his sons walking in that crowd.


The statue silhouetted against the sky may have the only head in this photograph not covered by a hat.

Zooming in at 300%

I still can't find a man or woman without a hat.

A Woolworth life

In 1917, my great uncle was 19 and joined the army to go fight in WWI. After training in Alabama, he headed to New York City to board the Leviathan for France. In a letter he wrote to my future great-aunt, he said that his one big goal while in NYC was to go and see the Woolworth building in person.
After he returned in 1919, he got an internship with Woolworth and then managed stores all over northern Ohio for the next 30 years.

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