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About the Photos

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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Philadelphia: 1906

Philadelphia: 1906

Philadelphia circa 1906. "Chestnut Street." Continuing the nutty theme of recent posts. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Fares and Track Gauges

Streetcar fare back then was 5 cents with free transfers within the city limits, six fares (in tokens or strips of tickets) for 25 cents.

The cross track in the foreground on Ninth Street is the same gauge as the track on Chestnut -- 5 feet 2¼ inches. All Philadelphia Rapid Transit tracks were that size. Chestnut Street trolleys ran until 1956, 10th Street (with the open trolley) in the background until 1957, and Ninth Street until about 1967.

Peirce School

The Peirce School seen here was a business school that my mother and father attended in 1939, after graduating from high school. After meeting there they went to a Valentine's Day dance and, as it is said, the rest is history. My mother just died this year at age 88 (my father died in 2004) and I have both their diplomas from Peirce School.


This is one of those pictures that, at first blush, seems rather pedestrian (pun intended), but which, at full size, proves to be astonishingly alive with all manner of fascinating detail. A lot of those on Shorpy, of course, but every once in a while, one seems to grab me by the collar. The sheer scale and bustle of Philadelphia leaves me feeling like the country mouse come to the city.

What a fascinating year circa 1906 is turning out to be!

A Public Service

I love seeing the baseball scoreboard outside the Philadelphia Record Building, just past the statue of Ben Franklin.


If this was everyday dress, what did one wear to a funeral?

Different Paths.

I forwarded the link to a friend who is interested in streetcars and historic images in general and he noticed a fact I completely missed. I had remarked to him that the two intersecting streetcar lines did not interconnect with curves, trolley wires and switches.

He countered with the horizontal trolley track is Narrow Gauge when compared with the vertical track. No wonder the tracks only cross.

Another Arc streetlight above the intersection to the left of where the trolley wires cross. The Electric Age well underway.

Thank You! Sir.

I can almost hear the noises from the city.

Wow! Great pic. This is why I like shorpy. Great photos with so much detail.
I can imagine what it would sound like: the clanging of horses, the roar of the streetcar, the voices of workers beginning to start their day!


I'm always amazed at the number of streetcars there are in these pictures. I can count 8 for sure (probably more) in 3 or 4 blocks. Amazing! I'm also curious as to how much it cost to ride.

Philadelphia Record

Noticed the Philadelphia Record on the tower. When you Google that the first result is This previous photo was labeled with the helpful information, Post Office


Is there a name for windows which pivot like that?

I spy with my little eye

At 8:17 am... I see a pigeon, a window-cleaner, a lady in a window, a man lighting a smoke, a man picking his teeth, a policeman, a fire (or police) alarm-box*, a suspicious package at the base of a pole, two step-ladders (one in place and another en-route), and a man who looks like he might be a doctor...

This is one of those photos where you can almost hear the ringing of streetcar bells, the clatter of horse-hooves on pavement, and the bustle of the city in the morning.

The unusual windows are called "pivot windows".

*"The late nineteenth century brought new developments to policing. The Police Department installed telephone call boxes on street corners throughout the city for patrolmen to check in from their beat and for citizens to report crimes."

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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