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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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St. Louis: 1900

St. Louis: 1900

St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1900. "Olive Street west from Sixth." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Some things are still there

Erker's is still a eyeglass establishment in the St. Louis area, so not quite everything there is gone. The trolley tracks are still mostly around yet; just visible under asphalt, especially in parking lots and alleys where they peek through broken pieces.

Erker Bros. Spectacles

They remind me of "the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg" in "The Great Gatsby":

Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night.

"God sees everything," repeated Wilson. "That's an advertisement," Michealis assured him.

God is in the details

Here's a view of difficult-to-photograph Union Trust as it was originally constructed (taken from the south facing north along Olive).

The scale of the lions with the shields near the entrance beggars the imagination. They appear to be about 30 feet high (compare them to the pedestrians' heights who are walking just under them in the original Shorpy photo.) Sadly, these were removed during the 1920s "remodeling."

Fellow Louis Sullivan fans, check out the ornamentation of the cornice in this building -- it's simply amazing. Pure art. Sullivan was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's mentors, as I recall. Sullivan rocks.

1. Sullivan's fertile mind
2. Cornice


St. Louis used to be a city!

Louis Sullivan Design

Thanks for showing this photo that includes Adler & Sullivan's Union Trust Building. I have a doorknob and escutcheon (backplate) from this building mounted onto a door in my house. Every day when I turn the ornate knob (being able to feel the raised UTB letters) I will now think of this photo!

13 January, 2010

Looks slightly different this morning . . . LOVELY parking garage, though.

I stand corrected

The close-up zoom tells the tale -- it is an electric streetcar running on the rails of the former cable line. Thanks for the great photos and web site!

Not a trolley, a cable car!

Interestingly, that's not a trolley in the photo. A "trolley" is by definition an electrically-powered streetcar. What we have here is a rare photo of a St. Louis cable car (note the cable slot between the two rails, and the lack of a trolley pole on the roof of the car). This cable railway ran until 1901. The presence of trolley wires above the street could indicate that this photo was taken while the line was in the process of being converted to electric traction.

[Look again. It's electric. - Dave]

Curbside Trash

St. Louis needed to emulate New York City and employ those White Wings to clean up its streets.

Cries out for a medley...

"Clang, clang, clang went the trolley,
Ding, ding, ding went the bell"... where's Judy Garland when you need her.

Not Sullivanesque -- Sullivan!

The building with the lions rampant is 705 Olive St., built in 1893 as the Union Trust Building by the firm Adler & Sullivan (yes, that was the noted architect Louis Sullivan). It was altered in 1924 and lost a few members of its pride. (See

View Larger Map

Sanitation strike

Or did the Cardinals parade pass us by?

Goody Goody

Before anyone asks.

Lions and misfits, oh my

I want to shop at the Misfit Clothing Parlor! And how many lions can you spy in the facade of that Louis Sullivanesque building at right rear?

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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