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High Street: 1910

High Street: 1910

Columbus, Ohio, circa 1910. "High Street, south from State." Where strollers have, among many available choices, a 3-cent lunchroom, the Imperial Tonsorial Parlor and Baths, "base ball scores received by innings" and swastika sporting goods. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Flint, Michigan (where I initially thought this photo was taken) has identical arches over its main street (Saginaw Street). Until now, I thought they were unique to that locale. Did they serve a purpose, or were they just for looks? It doesn't appear that they're being used for electric service to the street railway.

[I think they were just decorative. More here in the comments. - Dave]

Hall's Hardware

I remember going to Hall's Hardware with my dad in the early '70s. They had a hobby shop in the basement that was like walking into a dream.

Must be a loss leader

Surely that lunch was priced at three cents to get you inside the place. It may have been something like a spoon of tuna fish with a carrot and a couple of grapes for dessert. We've inflated in prices a lot in 100 years, but not 200 times or 20,000 percent.

Bad Math

Sorry Dave: when you wrote, "Ahem. Five cents for a three-cent meal is a 167 percent tip. - Dave] you forgot to subtract the 1. My HP 17 b-II financial calculator says the markup is 66.67%.

[In a lunchroom you'd pay your three cents (or whatever) upfront, then get your food. The five cents would be all tip -- 167 percent. - Dave]

Three years before "The Day the Dam Broke"

This would be the Columbus that a young James Thurber wrote of in "My Life and Hard Times."


My father was born in 1902 and lived in what is now German Village in 1910 (it was then just the south side of Columbus). I remember him telling me that he sold newspapers downtown as a young boy, which means he would have been about the same age as the newsboys in the photo. I know the odds are against it, but it's strange to think that one of those boys in the photo could be my father, or at least a friend of his.

He used to talk quite often about growing up in Columbus in those days, and even as a callow lad I found the stories interesting, albeit in an abstract way. Looking back, I think those stories helped plant the seeds of my life-long love of history. Now I'd love to be able to talk to him and ask him for more details about his childhood and those days in Columbus, but of course he's long gone.

For example, he told me that he would sometimes hop on the streetcars to sell his papers and ride them to the end of the line, where he would help the conductor turn the car around (apparently on turntables). He also loved to hang around the old Union Station and watch the trains come in and out, and eventually someone put a broom in his hand and told him that if he was going to hang around he should make himself useful. He ended up working for the Pennsylvania Railroad for 44 years (1920 - 1964) during the golden age of steam.

Time still standing

The clock on the corner is a Howard Tower clock. Company records show it being a 12 foot two face clock installed in 1899.


That modern photo really does not display an improvement.

It was true

The dentists felt no pain at all.


The font (typeface?) on that sign is way hip.

Can anyone make out what they were the makers of?


Same view from July of 2009.

Big Tipper

If you had the 3¢ lunch and left a nickel on the counter the tip would have been 40 percent.

[Ahem. Five cents for a three-cent meal is a 167 percent tip. - Dave]

Now that I've looked at this post again, I think you misinterpreted the tip ratio. The nickel left on the counter was for the meal, 3¢, leaving
2¢ for the tip. Do you think I'm a Rockefeller and that I would leave a
5¢ tip?

Piano District

I count three piano stores in one block. I wonder if all of Ohio even has three piano stores left?


I love the newsboys in their short pants, especially the one with the big grin on his face.

I'd really like to know more about the Lazarus tower (on the right, over the clock). What's THAT about?

[See below. - Dave]


Only the building on the right corner appears to still stand. Locals might note the Lazarus sign above the clock tower. A department store that ceased to exist in the last several years.

View Larger Map

Not really painless.

More of a phantom pain today, felt more in the pocketbook than the mouth.


Uhhhh...I really wonder what you could get at a 3 cent lunch? Then, on the other hand, saloons offered a free lunch if you bought a 5 or 10 cent glass of beer. The free lunch could vary upon the class of saloon you were patronizing. It could be a full range cold cut platter with other items available in an upscale joint or it could just be a pickled egg in a lower class establishment. I am sure the bartenders of either class joint encouraged patrons to move along if they didn't continue to buy an occasional beer.

Read all about it

Seems the corner is amply covered by newshawkers.

Tipping point

From looking at a lot of Shorpy pics from the first decade of the 20th century, it seems that 1911 or '12 was just about the tipping point between the horse and buggy era and the automobile era. There were two shots of New York from about 1906 and 1913, and the contrast was startling.

I'll bet if you came back only a year later, you'd find drastically more cars, and drastically fewer horses.

1910 sports bar

For inning by inning baseball scores in 1910, I imagine that it must be a bar with a subscription to a Western Union baseball ticker service, and a big blackboard for the staff to write up the scores.

To Ladder or Not to Ladder

I suppose it would be a fireman's nightmare if one had to negotiate a ladder between all the overhead electric wires during rescue attempts. However I also suppose that during this era ladder type fire trucks were yet to be developed, though I could be wrong, but even an extension ladder propped on the side of a building would be a challenge.

Lying through their teeth

Why do I get the feeling that "American Painless Dentists" and "Dr. Cochrane Painless Dentist" were anything but?

Oral History

I'm 64 years old and I have yet to visit a painless dentist!

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