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Barber Shop & Bath Rooms: 1915

Barber Shop & Bath Rooms: 1915

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1915. "Entrance to barber shop, Pardridge & Blackwell building." The usually anonymous Detroit Publishing photographer makes a cameo appearance. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Under the sidewalks

My father purchased an old building in my hometown to restore, built in 1898. In the sidewalk it had those purple glass grids and also a set of heavy metal doors. In the basement, where time time has stopped in the early 1900s, there was a big pile of coal. Also, my parents told me at the time (late 1970s) that the purple glass-filled portholes acted as skylights. They provided light to a small degree in the basement.


Oh what I would do to get my hands om those two sconces on either side of the door.

Ask Mrs. Seinfeld

Chiropody is an archaic term for podiatry; a chiropodist would be a chiropractor for your feet. If I recall the Seinfeld episode rightly, Jerry's mom had an appointment with one (I think they kept pronouncing it "sheropodist").

Since they offered manicures, perhaps they offered the chiropodist since no gentleman would be caught dead getting a pedicure?

Re: the glass grids - my understanding is that many of these buildings extended their basements under the sidewalks to (1) let light into the basement via the glass tiles and (2) provide a way for deliveries using a lift covered with heavy steel doors.

Duh ...

I guess ya learn something new everyday. And entertain others in the process.

[Thanks for taking it easy on me, Dave.]


is an earlier term for podiatry or the branch of medicine that deals with your feet.

Defense de Cracher.

The sidewalk and the light lenses might be chewing-gum-less, but, the other stains and lumpy detritus are the manly expectorations of chewing tobacco.

In Montreal there were blue decal signs on the windows of streetcars, when they still ran, which stated; "NO Spitting, Defense de Cracher, $40 Fine!"

Had to do with the spreading of Tuberculosis, or The Consumption as it was known.

Indoors, cuspidors would often be provided.

Thank You.

Special Portal

This facade is gorgeous! The architectural detail is fantastic especially the stained glass lights and I think the transom is really interesting.


Something about the pork pie hat the photographer is wearing made me think of Buster Keaton in the movie "The Cameraman."

I love those barber poles. The entire entrance is just wonderful.

Don't know what Chiropody is

but I'm going to try it!


Although the sidewalks are stained there is the absence of chewing gum blobs on it.

Nice Hats!

There's a couple of hats on the far right side I wouldn't mind having!

I just noticed

I noticed that this is in the bottom right corner of the Pardridge & Blackwell building. The sign sitting outside is what tipped me off. I just was enjoying the Pardridge & Blackwell: 1915 image and managed to wander here and immediately noticed it.

[Another clue is to be had in the caption! - Dave]

Barber pole envy

Looking at the ornate beauty makes me think we can only see this in black and white because we're the ones living in the drabber world.

So Cool!

I didn't know that windows like the one above the door were ever made to open. And you can tell by the tiling in the sidewalk out front that this building is over an underground walkway, probably for steam tunnels. We still have patches of purple smoked-glass grid all over the city here in Spokane. The tunnels are still there, but have been closed for ages. This is one that I really wish we had a color reference for. I bet the stained glass barber poles were beautiful.

[Those glass grids generally mean there's a basement down there. - Dave]

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