JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Shorpy members who are Patreon contributors get an ad-free experience! (Mostly -- there's still an ad above the comments.) Sign up or learn more.

Free Air: 1920

Free Air: 1920

"North Capitol Tire Shop, 1919 or 1920." Approaching the camera: A two-horsepower biofuel vehicle. National Photo Company. View full size.


Position of photographer

Here's an annotated plat from the 1919 Baist Atlas showing my best guess as to the spot from which this photo was taken.

The yellow line indicates the view down the alley, toward the horse and wagon. The structures seen at the very far end of the alley -- angling in from the right -- are accessory structures behind 52 & 54 NY Ave NW. (I couldn't quite fit that part of the map into the detail below.)

The blue line shows the line of sight past the gas pump & onto the backs of the houses fronting on NY Ave.

Also, I hope you noticed the boy's face in the door; see detail below.

Phone pole wagon wheel

The pole in the background has a telephone distribution terminal (box) where the local "drops" (wires to the houses or buildings) connect to an underground cable back to the phone exchange. The wagon wheel appliance on top was to make more room for the wires radiating out from that pole. Note that a number of drops go back to another pole where they then fan out to other locations down the block.

Making fun of horsepower

Oh sure, you make fun of horsepower now but you just wait until we're all you've got left to ride around town on/in again. Make nice with us!! The only fuel we require is some oats and hay and water, and we leave fertilizer behind.

Best regards,

Mr. Ed

Here's your electric wire, and yours, and yours...

It looks like the electric service could get complicated. Wonder what was in that transformer to keep it cool?

[Or would those be telephone wires. - Dave]

What a Great Shot

What a great shot! Love the Model T's, the brick commercial buildings, the early automobilia, etc. I'll bet those are sleeping porches on the building at the right. I wonder how many times the sleepers were awakened by clanging metal sounds at tire shop?

Snow and Slush

You can almost feel the bone chilling cold that must have been in the air. Time to go inside for some Vulcanizing (just kidding). I see it's another Texaco location. I wonder if the current site occupants know there was a gas station there once.

Look at that road ...

And I complain about the city maintenance around here.

[That's slush. Seems to be brick paving underneath. - Dave]


The hooves are pointing in the wrong direction.

[Ha ha. Now I get it. Thanks to AT for the explanation. "Treads." - Dave]

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Site © 2021 Shorpy Inc.