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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Dead Man's Curve: 1920

Dead Man's Curve: 1920

1920. "Dead Man's Curve. Baltimore tour." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. Note the tiny DANGER sign in the middle.

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Dangerous Curve

This is part of the old Baltimore-Washington Road. This part of the road was relocated again to the west of the original alignments. You can enter this part of the old road from the east side of current Route 1 across from Ducketts Lane. The entrance is also about a mile north of State Route 100.

There was an article about it in the May 30, 1955 issue of Life.

Dead Man's Curve from the north and south:

Dead Man's Curve

It's definitely Route 1 and seems to have been so well known back in the day that nobody bothered to say exactly where it was. I've been trying to localize it for over a year now. Current working hypothesis: it was on the upgrade approaching Elkridge from the south.

Dead Man's Curve

Because of the billboards, this road is likely the old Route 1, the Washington-Baltimore highway. I lived on that highway in Beltsville in the 1940s and travelled it many times with my grandfather. I imagine that it would have looked like this in the days of this photo.

Dead Man's Curve

Underneath that "Danger" sign, it should say "If you can read this, it's probably too late."

Baltimore tour

Did "Baltimore tour" have any special meaning, or is it just a tour around (?) Baltimore, or a ring-road perhaps?

[From what I can tell, it was National Photo's annual trip from Washington to cover the races at Pimlico. - Dave]

Product Placement

At least after your car rolls off the road you know just where to get new tires and auto supplies.

Garrett Dash Nelson


Does anybody know where this is located in Baltimore? I'd love to get even a rough idea of where this is. I'd happily go back and take a modern-era photo of this.

Dave in Baltimore

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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