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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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Spencer Daily Reporter: 1936

Spencer Daily Reporter: 1936

December 1936. "Street scene. Spencer, Iowa." 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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I'm not dead yet!

I am now sitting inside the F.W. Knight building, on the left in this photo. I work often at restoring this old property to what it once was. The exterior is fairly close to what is seen here. The basement window wells I remember from my childhood are gone but I intend to put them back. A caretaker's tunnel out the back is still there, where one could sneak out to the old house behind for a quick hand of poker and a belt or two. Many interesting things are popping up as old residents come in to retell the history of this fine old building. The community restroom still exists as it once did, the shower is new, the toilet is original. More later.

J.D. Schooley

A furry tale

I just finished reading the delightful biography of Dewey, Spencer's library cat!

How nice to have a glimpse of what Spencer looks like, there is an interesting story behind its "Prairie Deco" buildings.

Spencer Update

Those buildings are still there. This was when Grand Avenue was still Main Street, before the enlargement of the Hotel Tangney, which would be off to the right across Sixth Street in a few years. Those houses were moved or sold for lumber. The F.W. Knight building on the left got bought Jim Schooley, who is restoring it. The Reporter building still has a print shop in it, but they put a nasty false front on it, with the old windows underneath. The barber shop in the basement has some evidence of a few bath cubbies in the back, where people could get a hot bath after their shearing!

Spencer Daily Reporter

The newspaper is still printed and seems to be flourishing.

Clark Kent

Before he moved to Metropolis, this could have been the type of hometown newspaper where Clark Kent would have served.

It's too bad he had to move on to bigger and better things at the Daily Planet.

For one thing, the locals would know Superman was Clark. He couldn't fool them by wearing eyeglasses that had no glass in them.

Of course, about all the heroics he could muster in Spencer, Iowa, in 1936, would be flying up to hang or remove those Christmas lights on the newspaper building.

Heading for the Chatterbox Cafe

The gentleman on the left? Surely a Norwegian bachelor farmer heading for the Chatterbox Cafe for some pie and coffee.

Set the wayback machine!

This is one of those amazing, unposed images that make me want to step right into the photo. I want to know where the ladies are going, and what they're discussing. Is the elderly man a Civil War vet? What's the guy with the car doing? What's happening in those houses along the side street at that moment in time?

Community Spirit

I'm impressed by the Community Rest Room, since there is such a great need for these things in NYC. Did many farm communities offer this amenity at the time?

Community Rest Room

I've seen lots of cool old signs on Shorpy, but this one is going to be hard to beat.

Wonderful Photo

A wonderful photo. The photos of large city places and people are great, but I especially enjoy photos of smaller cities and their everyday life. This must be close to Christmas as the lights are strung. One thing that first caught my eye, was the sign for "Community Rest Rooms." Wonder if they offered anything more than the basic facilities?

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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