SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
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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.

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Crossing Canal: 1890

Crossing Canal: 1890

New Orleans circa 1890. "St. Charles Hotel from Canal Street." 5x7 inch glass negative by William Henry Jackson. View full size.

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Individual traffic on rails

There are some cities (in know Lisbon and Linz) that used special gauges in order to avoid carriage traffic on their tracks. This photo shows the reason quite well as the gig is just rerailed.

Horsecar History

Horse powered omnibuses (called horsecars) were very common in the 19th century.

The problem with horsecars was the horses. Specifically horse manure and urine. Horses could also panic, dragging the horsecar after them.

Most cities (including New Orleans) tried replacing horsecars with different solutions: ammonia engines, steam "dummies" (effectively a small steam engine inside a converted horsecar), battery powered cars, cable cars.

Eventually electric overhead powered streetcars using trolleys became the norm. In New Orleans, horsecars were replaced by overhead powered electric streetcars starting in 1893.

A few cities still have streetcars (San Francisco), but buses pretty much replaced them by the 1960s.

Look Closely

Those streetcars have some real horsepower!

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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