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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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Gallego Mills: 1865

Gallego Mills: 1865

April 1865. Richmond, Virginia. "Ruins of Gallego Mills." A water wheel in the Gallego flour mill on the James River after its destruction in the Great Fire of 1865, which consumed most of the buildings in Richmond's business district. Wet-plate glass negative by Alexander Gardner. View full size.

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"Water" wheels!

I wonder if it has something to do with being soaked in water for years?

Just A Guess

This is just a guess, but I suspect that the water wheels didn't burn because they were water wheels. The wood of the wheels would have been saturated and we all know how hard it is to start a fire with wet wood. Add to that the fact that the wheels would most likely be spinning until the rubble from the roof collapsed onto it, and then the water that turned the wheel would would spill out of the segments of the wheel and extinguish at least some of the rubble that fell onto it.

(And as usual Dave, you were right about someone submitting a serious answer to the question. Such is the omnipotence of moderation.)

Wheels On Fire

I wonder why the water wheels didn't burn like the rest of the building?
(jnc now attempts to duck dave's roundhouse punch, i.e. your comeback reply in the brackets)

[I wonder how many people are going to actually submit answers to your question. - Dave]

Crisp Detail

The detail is just amazing in this photo. And it looks like there is still water flowing over the wheels that became fuzzy over the lengthy exposure.

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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