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The Electric Circus: 1905

The Electric Circus: 1905

Detroit circa 1905. "Woodward Avenue, looking north from Jefferson" -- vantage on an abundance of bulb-studded signage and electric streetcars, as well as two giant "moonlight tower" lighting standards. 8x10 glass negative, with water damage at the edges. View full size.


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Cheap R.R. Tickets

I believe this is the earliest incarnation of Priceline. In fact, isn't that William Shatner walking into the building? He was young then. Probably looking for a job.

Electric Arc Light Towers

Speaking of electric. Think those two towers in the background are for arc lights. Early on, the idea was to illuminate an area by arc lights placed as high as possible.

[Shorpy and Detroit's "moonlight towers" go way back. - Dave]

Penny Arcade?

The Exhibit, 98 Woodward Avenue
William Rosenthal, Manager
Home: Kirby Apartments

(1905 Detroit City Directory)

Where's Waldorf?

Right next to Penny a Peek. And all this time, I thought it was in New York.

That's it!

Exhibit 1 Cent ... now why couldn't I see that? Thanks everyone. Exhibiticent work.

Queen Anne Soap

Apparently a Detroit thing in King Edward VII's time.

Streetcar Switch Iron

The lad front and centre is leaning against a metal rod called a switch iron. This is used to set the points on the track switches for the streetcars. He would adjust the switches for streetcars turning left, right or heading straight ahead. Electric switches operated from inside the streetcar by the motorman at busy locations mostly replaced the need for manual switching.

Re: Just enough

If you have 1 cent you can see the exhibit.

A penny

While I do like the new word Exhibiticent, JennyPennifer, is it not possible the sign reads Exhibit One Cent?

I read the sign as "Exhibit 1 cent."

Although that does sound awfully cheap for an exhibit (depending of course on what they're exhibiting).


I was guessing Exhibit 1 Cent.


It may be "Exhibit 1 Cent"



JennyPennifer, that was my first thought too, until I realized it say "Exhibit 1 Cent." But what was the exhibit?

Just enough information

I chuckled audibly over CHEAP R.R. TICKETS ... let's get right to the point, shall we? They're cheap and that's all you need to know, so come on in and get yours.

Meanwhile across the street, while I perceive that the symbol between the T in EXHIBIT and the C in CENT is meant to be a spacer (and what the sign advertises is, I think, Exhibit Center, but please do correct me if I have taken a wrong turn), I read EXHIBITICENT. Strikes me as a portmanteau of "exhibit" and "magnificent" ... as in, exhibiting magnificence. And as I am enamored of both the word and the concept, I have made a mental note to adopt it into my vocabulary. "Your rendition of 'Walk Right In' on the alto spoons is nothing short of exhibiticent, Morris!" Morris, while gratified by my praise, will no doubt conclude that I have been imbibing something other than A&W Zero Sugar Root Beer.

Can't get there from here

All of the nearby buildings have been replaced since this picture - some more than once. There may be a few survivors farther along Woodward. This photo must have been taken on a clear day - I think the first church spire is the extant Central United Methodist Church, about a mile up Woodward.

You can no longer drive from Jefferson to Woodward, because the first block of Woodward is now a pedestrian and event plaza. The moonlight towers have been replaced by the United Way torch!

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