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The River: 1864
... Soldiers It never fails to amuse me to see the typical Civil War reenactor, authentic in every detail except for being 30 pounds overweight. ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/01/2012 - 9:01pm -

May 1864. North Anna River, Virginia. "Soldiers bathing. Ruins of Richmond & Fredericksburg railroad bridge in the distance." Wet plate glass negative, left half of stereo pair, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan. Library of Congress. View full size.
North AnnaThese boys are skinny, aren't they? I've crossed this river a million times. Amazing. I just discovered your blog and I love love love it. Thanks for collecting the photos. 
Anna Get Your GunThe Battle of North Anna was fought from May 23 to May 26, 1864 - a lead up to the appalling Battle of Cold Harbor.
Another Shorpy here on Cold Harbor.
Dirt?  Tans?Their bodies are so pale compared to their faces.  I wonder if it is dirt or a tan?  Of course in those days, their bodies wouldn't see sunlight very often, so it could be a mix of both.
Tanned & BlandUp until the 1920s, it was rare for men to be shirtless in public, even in all-male settings like an army. The phrase "half-naked" was used to denote this kind of undress with the connotation that it was shameful. Not until after WW I did men lose their tops when bathing and even that was controversial until Hollywood depicted leading men sans chemise in a variety of settings.
Skinny SoldiersIt never fails to amuse me to see the typical Civil War reenactor, authentic in every detail except for being 30 pounds overweight.
Civil War RationsOf course the typical Civil War reenactor is about 30 lbs overweight because he hasn't been eating typical Civil War rations. Marching rations for a Union soldier (like these guys most likely are):
1 lb. hard bread
3/4 lb. salt pork or 1 1/4 lb. fresh meat
plus  sugar, coffee, and salt (the rations for these were set per 100 men: 15 lbs. sugar, 10 lbs. green coffee or 8 lbs. roasted and ground coffee, 3 pounds 12 ounces salt). Other commodities, like dessicated potatoes and dried vegetables, were added when the army was in camp. 
Confederate soldiers were supposedly on the same sort of rations although they obviously didn't get coffee because of the blockade, their fresh meat tended to be pork rather than beef, and their supply services tended to be far less efficient than the Union Army's. By the time of the Siege of Petersburg the Confederates were really suffering. 
Dirt? Tans?That is what struck me also when I saw this photograph. 
Blue and Gray and RedYes, as a reenactor (with my 30lbs) after a weekend of war without sunscreen I come home with the same tan lines.  Face, neck and the back of my hands all end up nice and toasty.  
The River: 1969 (105 years later)February 1969. Stream somewhere north of Saigon, South Vietnam. Soldiers bathing, jungle all around. Scanned Polaroid print.
"Our platoon, from the 1st Infantry Division, had been out on a hot, dirty patrol/ambush mission for about a week. We came upon this incredibly clear cool stream, and somebody had an idea...we posted a couple of sentries, got out the soap and had ourselves one hell of a (quiet) skinny-dip. I am the dipper on the far right. I don't think we had permission to do this, but then I don't think we asked, either(!)"
The similarity between the two photos continues to amaze me.
Thank you Shorpy/Dave, for allowing me to share one of the few happy memories of that year in Vietnam.  
(The Gallery, Civil War, Timothy O'Sullivan)

Nashville: 1864
... was completed only a few years before the beginning of the war in 1861. It still stands today. Nashville fell to Union forces ... and engines were valuable for transportation during the Civil War. Far faster than horses capable of 40 to 50 MPH for long periods, the ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/17/2012 - 10:26pm -

1864. "Nashville, Tennessee. Rail yard and depot with locomotives." Wet-plate glass negative by George N. Barnard. View full size. Another view here.
This Railroad Terminalis not eligible for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Less is MoorishWhat bizarre architecture!  That sagging entry portal is being held up with that one flimsy pole? And the archways look Persian or Turkish or "Arabian" while the turrets look like an English castle.  The whole thing looks like it's going to fall apart any minute. I'm afraid Nashville here looks like Atlanta post Sherman!
Where's Buster?Great RR view...but I kept looking for Buster Keaton peeking out of one of the locomotive cabs, or sitting on a connecting rod kissing his girlfriend!
Perspective is an odd thingThose huge chunks of wood make the engines look tiny, even though I know they aren't. I also like the ghostly image of the now long-dead man in the shack. It's a rare treat to look back 100+ years into the past and I'm still amazed at the clarity of these old photographs.
Music CityThis shot was taken where the bulk of downtown Nashville now resides. You can see the state capital off to the right. Even today Nashville is a pretty small city. Growing up not far from there, it always amazed me that such a smallish city could have such clout in the world of country music.
NashvilleThe building that you see in the upper right hand corner of the photo is the state capital.  It was completed only a few years before the beginning of the war in 1861.  It still stands today.  
Nashville fell to Union forces without a fight in February of 1862.  However, in the fall of 1864, in a last ditch effort to relieve the pressure on General Lee's forces in Virginia, confederate president Jefferson Davis ordered  confederate General Hood to disengage from following Sherman to the sea and attack Nashville and after its capture move into Kentucky and then Ohio in hopes of the Union suing for peace.  So, on December 15th and 16th of 1864 Union forces came out of their dug in positions and attacked Hood who had over the two proceeding weeks dug in and waited for the Union forces of General Thomas. Then over those two days Union forces soundly defeated the confederate forces.       
WOW....What an incredible photo, and could be of great use to model railroaders doing that era.  The wood clutter would be almost impossible to manage due to the amount of engines and all burning wood....I guess there was no forest management in those days either.  As a Canadian I must ask what USMRR stands for.
CrenelatedThe "crenelated" appearance could easily be a Moorish or Spanish-Moorish influence. They weren't just "English castle" style but really pretty universal.
Telegraph linesThe timbers on the the crenelated corner towers (chimneys?) do look like rail ties, but they have been fitted with prong-like pieces of wood and ceramic insulators for telegraph lines. Some of the lines themselves can be seen running from the insulators on the front corner tower to the insulators on the scaffolding at the center back roof parapet, and to another timber with three insulators on the tower at the far back corner of the building. All of this looks like an ad hoc arrangement, perhaps the result of a wartime need for more telegraph lines than were needed for a peacetime rail depot, or to quickly replace lines that were downed when the brickwork was damaged.
Up thereOkay, I've got to ask.  What are those things sticking out of the "turrets"?
[They look like sections of track, complete with ties. - Dave]
Nashville DepotThis depot was on McLemore Street.  This Google view is pretty close.  Those might be the same bricks in the 1864 photo.  
View Larger Map
USMRR>> As a Canadian I must ask what USMRR stands for.
The answer can be found here.
CamouflageI looked at the full-size picture for quite a while before I realized that there are two workers sitting in front of the woodpile.
Pony truck journalsPlease note the external journals on the pony truck of the lead engine nearest the camera. That's something you did  not normally see on steam engines until the  the twentieth century and then not until the "twenties" and then it was unusual. C&NW 4-8-4s had 'em. A few others too. Interesting! In 1864.    
USMRR   I am sure the meaning of USMRR means United States Military Rail Road. Rolling stock and engines were valuable for transportation during the Civil War. Far faster than horses capable of 40 to 50 MPH for long periods, the US government during this time depended on rail transportation. Nashville was a hub for the South plus it's Cumberland River traffic, hence the gathering of so much here.
Nashville Railroad Yard in 1864 by BernardThe State capitol building in the upper right orients you pretty well as to where Bernard took the Photo. Although the depot buildings are long gone, the RR yard is still there, although probably not for very long--the neighborhood is getting very posh now and CSX Railroad is sitting on valuable real estate.  
It is called the Kaine Avenue Yard and the rsilroad still uses it, mainly for trains passing through the city (the ones staying go on to the huge Radnor yards).  In the 1890's they built Union Station adjacent to the tracks--approximately where the lower right of the photo would be.  The center of the Yard lies just below the Demumbreun Street Bridge on Eleventh Avenue; Bernard probably took the photo a little ways up the hill, around Twelfth, likely across the street from where a strip club now exists. The photo was probably taken sometime around the battle of Nashville, but there are only a couple of shots of the Union battle lines and none of any action. Bernard preferred buildings to people.  FYI
(The Gallery, Civil War, Geo. Barnard, Nashville, Railroads)

Military R.R.: 1865
... Railroad. From views of the main Eastern theater of war, the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865. Wet plate glass negative. ... tent at the time. His books have photos taken during the Civil War and then the same scene in modern times. Ironclad In regard to ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/01/2012 - 8:53pm -

City Point, Virginia, circa 1865. "Gen. J.C. Robinson" and other locomotives of the U.S. Military Railroad. From views of the main Eastern theater of war, the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865. Wet plate glass negative. View full size.
Robinson ahead by a nose Seems that the Lt. Genl. Grant is running a close second. The named locomotives are from the Wm. Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Mass. The engine ahead of both seems unnamed. Might be an "American" locomotive or a Wm. Mason.
LocationThe terrain and the enormity of the facilities in place makes me almost certain that this was taken at City Point, Virginia, the Union's main supply depot for the area at the time.
[Another clue would be the first three words of the caption. - Dave]
Who's DrivingThe engineer is definitely not Buster Keaton.
Any ideawhat the black things are in the upper right hand portion of the picture?  When I looked at the blown up picture it looked a little bit like a lot of black socks hanging on a clothesline but that's obviously incorrect.
[It's a scratch in the emulsion. - Dave]
A bigger nameHard for me to see, but appears to be "Lt Gen. US Grant" on loco behind the Robinson machine. I am amazed at the hillside, ships and living conditions of the period.
Grant's Iron HorseSaturday we saw Grant's horse "Cincinnati;" today we see Grant's Iron Horse, "Lt. Genl. Grant," on the left.
Union IroncladA turret of a Union ironclad can be seen in the background over the top of the pier-side warehouse. This could be the USS Onondaga, which was stationed at City Point to prevent Confederate ironclads from breaking out of the James River and attacking the supply base. The problem is that the USS Onondaga had two turrets and I only see one.
Grant and Lee There is a photo so similar to this one in the book "Grant and Lee" by William A. Frassanito that it must have been taken about the same time.  It is in the City Point chapter view 8.  The tents and buildings on top of the bluff were part of the Railroad Hospital.  The wharf shown is a replacement for one that was blown up by saboteurs on August 9,1864.  The explosion killed 43 laborers and according to Mr. Frassanito narrowly missed General Grant who was in front of his headquarters tent at the time. His books have photos taken during the Civil War and then the same scene in modern times.
IroncladIn regard to the comment by Excel08 about the ironclad. Also according to Mr. Frassanito there would be about 200 vessels anchored off of City Point on any given day by the fall of 1864 including the ironclad ram "Atlanta" with one stack.
Poor LightingAmazing that all the headlights on these locomotives were a kerosene lamp in a box with a magnifying lens.
Spectre-visionNifty ghost in front of main tent!
Hillside erosionAttention troopers!
Gen. Grant has authorized the issuing of hazard pay due to the hillside erosion and the location of the outhouse.   
It is further recommended that only those soldiers who know how to swim should make use of the facilitiesafter dark.
Buster Isn't ThereI'll bet he is out visiting Annabelle Lee.
InterestingAlmost as interesting as the locomotives are the view of the ships in the harbor.
OopsHow did I not see that?  Boy, is that embarrassing.
Hey youget back to work.
25 years of progressIt amazes me to think that these beautifully turned out engines are only one generation away from the dawn of American railroading (think Tom Thumb and iron-plated wooden tracks). A person born in 1820 grew up with horse, foot or canal-boat travel, when 50 miles was a good day's journey. During their adult years, they saw the rise of well-established railroads that could travel fifty miles per hour. This, together with the telegraph, was the dawn of the "shrinking world."
The Third LocomotiveThe locomotive moving forward between the "Lt. Genl. Grant" and the "Genl. J.C. Robinson" is the "Governor Nye." This 4-4-0 was built by the Richard Norris & Son locomotive works in Philadelphia, and was acquired new by the USMRR on February 18, 1863. Sent to North Carolina in 1865 to work on the USMRR, it was still in the USMRR inventory in April 1866. Another photo taken within minutes of this one shows it in the yard.

Watch that last step...I don't think that cliff-side staircase meets any imaginable safety regulation.
Bridge Of Beanpoples & Cornstalks General J.C. Robinson  4-4-0 (Construction # 124) Formerly known as the USMRR locomotive General Haupt and acquired new by USMRR on January 17, 1863. Renamed General J.C. Robinson. Sold to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1865.
"That Man Haupt has built a bridge over Potomac Creek, about 400 feet long and nearly 100 feet high, over which loaded trains are running every hour, and upon my word gentlemen, there is nothing in it but beanpoles and cornstalks."
Monitor identityThe monitor noted by others is most likely a Passaic-class ship and probably the Lehigh. The primary assumption is that the ship is perpendicular to the line of sight (as are the other ships). In that case comparing the monitor's funnel (tall thin light-colored tube to the left of the turret) to the turret, they are signifiicantly closer spaced than would be the funnel-turret distance for a Canonicus-class ship, the only other type which fits what is visible. This marks it as a Passaic. To identify it as the Lehigh is the stretch.  At least three Passaics were known to have been in the City Point area at this time; the Lehigh, Patapsco, and Sangamon. The Patapsco and Sangamon were both confusingly identified as having a white ring at the top of the turret/base of the rifle shield.  There is no ring visible on the turret of this monitor. The Lehigh was all black.
O Scale model Civil War model railroadBernie Kempenski is building a model railroad with these kinds of locomotives, etc.  His is dated 1862.  
(The Gallery, Civil War, Railroads)

Ambulance Camp: 1864
... Virginia." Albumen print, photographer unknown. Civil War Glass Negatives and Prints collection, Library of Congress. View full ... but maybe also after the Second Battle of the Weldon Railroad, which was more successful. I can't even imagine what these men had ... 
Posted by Dave - 02/07/2019 - 8:09pm -

August 1864. "Camp of Chief Ambulance Officer, 9th Army Corps, in front of Petersburg, Virginia." Albumen print, photographer unknown. Civil War Glass Negatives and Prints collection, Library of Congress. View full size.
Photoshop not around in 1864The fellow standing at the left leaning on the cabinet seems to be missing his lower torso and legs, and has a tree where they should be. 
[That's his stump. - Dave]
Pine pergolaThat's a clever structure they've put together of pine logs and boughs. I'll bet it smelled sweet and made a swishy sound in the hot summer breeze. In other news, the young man seated on the far right looks like he was about fourteen years old. I hope he made it home after the war.
Function of an ambulance campBoy, that's an interesting photo.  Is there any identification of the men
in the picture?  Does the "ambulance officer" have to do with evacuation
of the wounded, as it would seem from today's idea of an ambulance?
The camp appears to include a sorting station for mail and messages.
Post Office?Fascinating photo. I know the caption says Ambulance Officer, but this looks more like the camp post office. Two of the standing men are holding almost identical packages. Maybe some Civil War buff can guess what would be in them.
[The caption says this is *the camp* of the Chief Ambulance Officer. The larger camps having their own telegraph offices, messengers, letter carriers, etc. - Dave]
Legs like a treeIf he was missing both legs, why would he still be in the military? Why wasn't he sent home? Or to a soldiers home? This picture is going to disturb me all day.
[He's standing behind the stump. - Dave]
Battle of the CraterThis must have been taken shortly after the fiasco of the Battle of the Crater, but maybe also after the Second Battle of the Weldon Railroad, which was more successful. I can't even imagine what these men had just seen.
Multiple usage of equipmentLooks like the bone saw served double duty as the pine limb trimmer for the camp. 
Civil War CelebThat’s got to be a relative of Ed Norton, second from right. In a director’s chair no doubt!
Eyes have itIntense imagery. Everyone, even the kid on the right, has the same look in their eyes. The black man is the only one with anything resembling a smile.
What are they hiding from? The infamous Confederate Air Force? Or at least the Viginia Balloon Corps? 
Unhappy lotGrumpy bunch of guys, but Dave's response to the post by FixIt gave me a belly laugh to make up for the gloom!
Fancy folding chair Seated second from the left.
(The Gallery, Civil War, Medicine)

Railroad Bank: 1903
... business proved to be the more profitable and survived the Civil War and the Depression before eventually being absorbed in a series of mergers ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/28/2021 - 3:25pm -

Augusta, Georgia, 1903. "Georgia Railroad Bank, Seventh and Broad Streets." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.
My hometownIn "downtown" Augusta, there was a bank on the corner of Seventh and Broad Street from the 1830s until 2015! In 1967, sadly a large (sky scraper) building was erected to replace the beautifully designed bank pictured above. In 2015, Wells Fargo closed its branch (which was housed in the "skyscraper" built in '67). 
In 1916, Augusta had a horrible fire that burned much of the town. However, the bank pictured in 1903 survived. My great grandfather took several photographs of the aftermath of the fire and floods through the years. He was a pediatrician in Augusta. His doctor's office was in the Lamar building on Broad Street. The Lamar building still stands today. I wish we still had the old glass plate negatives from the photographs he took. 
Long historyThe Georgia Railroad and Banking Company (it did both) was chartered way back in the 1830s, making it one of the earliest railroads in the US. Over time the banking side of the business proved to be the more profitable and survived the Civil War and the Depression before eventually being absorbed in a series of mergers beginning in 1986. Today the parent company is Wells Fargo. The railroad also has disappeared in the usual run of corporate mergers, with CSX now controlling what is left of their old lines. 
Homeless bank person?Is that a pioneer homeless fellow between the columns at the corner? Must be one of the first! He has a hat, and bundles, but no shopping cart or tent.
Wonder what his story really is.
[Um, that's a nursemaid with two baby carriages. - Dave]
History of the Bank and Buildings
I'll Huff and I'll PuffBut it's gonna take more than a gust a wind to blow that august Augusta building down!
(The Gallery, DPC, Railroads)

Winnipesaukee Cannonball: 1906
... the period, though not always as fancy. -tterrace] Civil War monument Spent many happy days at the Weirs as a child. The 19th ct Mt. ... 
Posted by Dave - 05/04/2015 - 10:32am -

Circa 1906. "Railway station at Weirs -- Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire." 5x7 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Still there!The station is still in use, selling tickets for cruises on the lake and for the scenic railroad trips that use these same tracks. 
Now with ample parking:

A statue in the street?Is that a statue of a soldier leaning on his rifle directly in front of the speeding buggy, or a gas lamp hanging from the pole in the foreground?
[Looks like a water fountain with provision for horses. A common kind of street furniture of the period, though not always as fancy. -tterrace]
Civil War monumentSpent many happy days at the Weirs as a child. The 19th ct Mt. Washington still plies the lake. The Civil War monument and horse trough was located in front of the NH veterans home in the 1880s and was unfortunately struck by lightning and destroyed in the 30s.
WaterThe name Winnipeg (the city where I was born) comes from both Cree and Ojibwe words for dirty or murky or muddy (wini) and water (nipi).  Winnipesaukee is from the Abenaki language and is translated as the Smile of the Great Spirit but also Beautiful Water in a High Place or Good Smooth Water at Outlet.  I favor the water option.  And I suppose one person's murky is another person's beautiful.
Shorpy's Guide to NH tourist traps continues!First Market Square, now The Weirs.  Is Monadnock next?
To clarify a previous post by nhman, the "19th ct" Mt Washington burned in 1939.  The current Mt Washington II started life in 1888 on Lake Champlain.   They chopped it up, put it on rail cars, and welded it back together at Lakeport to replace the burned out Mt Washington.  Still pretty neat.
And now that I'm fact checking it... The train station burned down at the same time.  So I'm not so sure Hillary's street view is the same building.
Still there but notThis is not the same building as the original picture. When the Mount burned at the dock the Depot building of that time was lost where the fire consumed the dock leading from the depot.  This building that replaced that building was removed some time in the last 20 years. 
ID'ing the locomotiveI'm guessing that this is a Boston & Maine class C-17 4-6-0, based on the side view seen partway down this page.
Lovely engine.  My favorite locos by far are the high-wheeled passenger 4-6-0s and 4-4-2s from the early 20th century.
(The Gallery, DPC, Railroads)

Hanover Junction: 1863
... at depot." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war, Gettysburg, June-July 1863. Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady or ... Railroad construction was still in its infancy during the Civil War. Most if not all rail was imported from Great Britian during this ... 
Posted by Dave - 05/02/2009 - 8:28pm -

1863. "Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania. Passenger train at depot." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war, Gettysburg, June-July 1863. Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady or his assistant. View full size.
Look closerThere is a man in a stovepipe hat just to the right of the passenger train.
A Beat-Up WorldIt always interests me to see how hammered and dilapidated everything looks in photos from this era. The train itself looks sharp and new, but man, those tracks! Imagine the ride. It's a wonder they didn't derail more than they did. The buildings look like they're barely holding together too. I know it's wartime and they had contstraints, but still, it's a harsh, dirty looking world. Wouldn't want to live there.
Mr. LincolnSurely the recognition point for Mr. Lincoln at this period is not the hat but rather the beard. I'd have to say that this photo offers inconclusive proof if only because I can't tell if the man in the stovepipe hat has a beard or a black cravat.
Maybe, maybe not.Another shot of the train, "purportedly showing Lincoln." In any case he does have that Lincolnesque hat.
NovemberSummer?  There are no leaves on the trees.  The Gettysburg Daily ( says the picture was taken on November 17, 1863 and shows Abraham Lincoln's train en route to the Gettysburg.    
Close to homeI think Lincoln stopped here on his way to Gettysburg.
Hanover Junction Station today
Hanover Junction is about 10 miles east of Hanover.

En RouteThis photo has been debated for years. Is it Lincoln in the photo, on his way to Gettysburg?
[There's another photo of the station, minus the train, that shows half a dozen gents in Lincolnesque headgear. - Dave]

Track GaugePerhaps it's just the angle of the camera or distortion of the lens, but is the gauge of the track on the left the same as the gauge of the track that the passenger train is on?  I believe in 1863 there were still several gauges in use even in Pennsylvania.  Perhaps someone could verify based on the location of the photo.
Making tracksThe gauge is the same on all of the tracks at this location.  Though narrow gauge was used extensively, it did not appear until 1870. There were some wide gauge lines in use and their gauge varied quite at bit from RR to RR.
Railroad construction was still in its infancy during the Civil War. Most if not all rail was imported from Great Britian during this period. Typical weight in those days was about 35 pounds per yard, pretty flimsy by today's standards.
Ties were hand hewn; flattened on two sides with an ax. Difficult work at best.
Speaking of a beat up world ...I think if I was on the Junction Hotel balcony, I would be more than a little worried about the obvious sag in the middle. I wonder if you could feel it sink a bit as you walked across it? 
All smilesThe woman on the balcony in the light colored dress has the biggest smile I've ever seen in a photo this old.
A rare Civil War smile!As already noted, there is a smile here you just have to see. Bless her!
Beard or not to beard.Lincoln cultivated beards off and on his entire adulthood.  He was without one when he was shot, by the way.
(The Gallery, Civil War, Mathew Brady, Railroads)

Cadillac: 1908
... Those are solid frame types that you saw mostly during the Civil War. Given the condition of the car, I'd bet that it's an old link and pin ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/14/2012 - 1:01pm -

Detroit circa 1908. "Cadillac Motor Car Company." Cradle of the tailfin. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
The Origin of CadillacHow many "Shorpy-ers" know that the Cadillac Motor Company came out of the second failed attempt by Henry Ford to start Ford Motor Company?  
Cadillacbuilt the plant in 1905 (before GM ownership).  Cadillac left the plant in 1920 for the Clark Street plant in Southwest Detroit.  Westcott paper has occupied the building since then.
Broken windowsUntended broken windows on the face of the building where such classy automobiles were made? Tsk, tsk.
Railroad DepotThe wooden platforms, baggage carts, and barely visible tip of a station sign indicate that this is the Michigan Central's Woodward Avenue station, 5.7 miles from its downtown Detroit terminal.  This is the approximate location of the present-day Detroit Amtrak station.
Cadillac styleI'd harbored a secret wish to drive a Cadillac all my life. In 2006 my husband bought me a gently used CTS with all the bells and whistles. What a joy to drive. It makes me happy to see the building where this American icon of style and luxury was first fabricated. Thank you, Shorpy!
Get a horse!A bit of irony that the only vehicle in sight (I do not count the rail cars) is a horse-drawn runabout.
Standard of the WorldHenry Leland's first Cadillac plant was at 450 Amsterdam near Cass Avenue. Leland had replaced Henry Ford as the head of the Henry Ford Automobile Company. Leland changed the name of the company to the Cadillac Motor Car Company.
The "ard Ave" seen on the station sign indicates the Woodward Avenue station on the Michigan Central Railroad tracks, which passed near the plant. Woodward is one block east of Cass and was a wider thoroughfare than Cass. Today's Amtrak station is nearby.
The plant burned down in April 1904 and was rebuilt in just 67 days. As mentioned, portions of the rebuilt plant survive.
I worked for Cadillac for twenty-nine years at the Clark Street and nearby Scotten Avenue facilities. My favorite early Cadillac Model name was the Osceola.
Present Day New Center AreaI know where this is but would never have known it was the home of Cadillac. The Burroughs/Unisys and General Motors Buildings are also nearby.
My boss has a really cool painting of an orange streetcar passing in front of the Michigan Central Depot and when I commented that I liked it to a 50+ year-old co-worker all she said is "my husband would know what that building is" and of course I told her.
So much history is lost on my hometown/suburban inhabitants. Thanks Shorpy!
Actually a pressed steel truckThe railway truck (bogie) under the NYC&HR box car is actually a Fox patent pressed steel truck. It was considered a modern heavy duty truck for the time period.
Given the size of the car it would be from the 1900 era. Earlier cars would have been shorter and narrower, note the two behind it. The earlier solid trucks of the 1860-70s would have been wood beam with pedestal journals.
Solid Frame TrucksThe bogies on that early New York Central & Hudson River (later New York Central) boxcar are ancient! Those are solid frame types that you saw mostly during the Civil War. Given the condition of the car, I'd bet that it's an old link and pin coupling type that was converted.  I also don't expect it survived long, since the solid frame bogies were obsoleted around this time. They had a tendency to fracture and cause derailments.
(The Gallery, Cars, Trucks, Buses, Detroit Photos, Factories, Railroads)

War Effort: 1865
... Virginia. Unloading Federal supplies from transports." Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size. ... 
Posted by Dave - 02/18/2014 - 8:22pm -

Circa 1865. "City Point, Virginia. Unloading Federal supplies from transports." Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.
Walking Beam EngineLove the walking beam engine on the Columb(ia?). I have always been impressed with how large they were.
Primitive logisticsIn examining this photo, it is useful to remember that the Federal army was operating in enemy territory; that the South's infrastructure had deteriorated; and a line route for the railroad was not available because Richmond had not been taken.
 I suspect the size of the shipping was dictated by the James River and the decay of the docks.
I have not seen a good book on the logistics of the Civil War. Perhaps someone could suggest a title?
General George Gordon MeadeI apologize if my English is not very good. I'm from Cádiz (Spain), where General George Gordon Meade was born in 1815. I am very concerned for his involvement in the American Civil War (it was a bit controversial) and especially by his father, Richard Worsam Meade, who died in 1828 in Philadelphia. Richard Worsam Meade had a large fleet of boats in Cádiz, but lost everything in the war against Napoleon for his generosity to the Spanish cause. Was imprisoned in the Castle of Santa Catalina in Cadiz due to debts contracted. When he was released back to the United States.
Technology Moves SlowlyAs in previous views of City Point (now Hopewell, VA, it appears from modern maps), one is struck by how primitive the operation was considering it was the main front in one of the biggest wars in US history.  Contrary to the impression from history books, most of the logistsics ships are sail rather than steam (and this is some 50 miles up the James River from its mouth -- much more efficiently handled by a steam ship).  On land, it's draft animals pulling wagons, not railroads, although the latter were common in the time period and actually did play a role at City Point.
Another peculiarity is the ramshackle appearance of the infrastructure -- no neatly organized piers with cranes on them, as we would expect in more recent conflicts, but a maze of pilings separating the berths for the ships from the shore, with no obvious way to get the cargoes across the shoals but lighterage, and what might be the decking of a pier being laid in the foreground.
I think the railroad was operatingIt can bee seen in the background of this shot
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, Civil War)

Harpers Ferry: 1862
... the state drove by a number of bridge ruins from the Civil War. That always brought home to me the nearness and reality of the War. ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/09/2012 - 5:22pm -

"Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. View of town; confluence of Potomac and Shenandoah rivers; railroad bridge in ruins." Battle of Harpers Ferry, September 1862. Wet plate glass negative by C.O. Bostwick. View full size.
Points of InterestThe long industrial buildings at right along the river are the U.S. Armory, principal objective of John Brown's raid in 1859. 
Just to the left of the remains of the railroad bridge on the opposite bank, you can see a building extension built out over the river. This was almost certainly a toilet facility (similar to a medieval garderobe), built out over the retaining wall to empty directly into the river below.
TodayI lived in Virginia for many years and in my travels through the state drove by a number of bridge ruins from the Civil War.  That always brought home to me the nearness and reality of the War.  Here's the aerial view of the HF can count the same number of pilings as in the photograph:
View Larger Map
Glass NegativeThe faults and scratches on the almost 150 year old negative just enhances the destruction. Great picture, we should all be grateful that these pieces of history are available.
Last SalvoThe hill at the extreme left in the photo was the location of one of Stonewall Jackson's artillery batteries that shelled Harper's Ferry and forced the surrender of 12,000 Union troops garrisoned in the city. Col. Dixon Miles, commanding the Federal troops, was killed after he negotiated the surrender by a last salvo fired from Loudoun Heights.
After paroling the Union prisoners of war, Jackson and A.P. Hill marched their troops to Sharpsburg, where they arrived just in time to turn the tide of that battle and save Gen. Lee from near defeat.
The RR bridgeDestroyed and rebuilt something like five times during the war. Finally washed away by a flood in 1936.
Where is everybodyOK, very funny, who took the bridge down?
How did you know I was going?I'll be taking the family there this coming Friday for a camping trip to see Harpers Ferry and then the Antietam Battlefield.  
I think they destroyed and rebuilt this bridge about five or six times during the Civil War.
InfradestructureIt never ceases to amaze me how much destruction there was of infrastructure during the Civil War.
Cannons were somewhat primitive back then and they took considerable time to reload - (hardly WWII 88 or 105mm class), so the amount of time knocking things down or blowing them up seems somewhat inordinate.  It's as if the pillagers almost enjoyed their vandalism.    
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, Civil War, Railroads)

Atlanta: 1864
... was the center of the railroad traffic, at least after the war... Atlanta Union Station According to Rail Georgia that building ... Street (next to today's Underground Atlanta). Designed by civil engineer E. A. Vincent, it was initially known as the "passenger depot" ... 
Posted by Dave - 12/14/2012 - 11:35am -

Atlanta, 1864. "Federal Army wagons at railroad depot." And maybe Scarlett O'Hara in the distance. Wet plate negative by George N. Barnard. View full size.
PoleWhat's the very tall pole at the back left of the photo?  Lightning rod?  Flagpole?  TV antenna?
[My guess would be signal mast. - Dave]
The Pole AgainLooks like smoke from a chimney and/or a scratch on the negative.
[Nope. We are talking about the articulated mast seen below. - Dave]

Where is this?I wonder where this is?  I'm assuming it's close to contemporary downtown Atlanta (the Underground Atlanta houses the "zero-mile" marker) and it was the center of the railroad traffic, at least after the war...
Atlanta Union StationAccording to Rail Georgia that building on the right is Atlanta's first Union Station.
Atlanta's first union station, constructed in 1853, stood in the block now bounded by Central Avenue, Wall Street, Pryor Street, and Alabama Street (next to today's Underground Atlanta). Designed by civil engineer E. A. Vincent, it was initially known as the "passenger depot" but came to be better known as the "car shed."
Wagon DriverThe guy on the wagon in the foreground only seems to be half there. His head is not articulated and the ground behind it is visible. Strange.
[This is how people look when they move during a time exposure. - Dave]

The building behind the mastThe building behind the mast is Atlanta's first Fire Station HQ, located alongside what was then called Broad Street. The lens Barnard used to photograph these scenes greatly flattened the perspective, so that some objects appear closer than they really are.
AtlantaThe street that runs between the building marked as "Concert Hall" and the white stone building is Peachtree Street, so this is that part of town slightly west of what is known as Five Points. The railroad "gulch" in the picture was covered up in the 1920s by a system of viaducts. Directly across from Peachtree Street ran Whitehall Street. There is a very famous Barnard photo showing a building marked "Negro Sales" which was on Whitehall Street, directly across from the signal mast you can see over the building next to the car shed, which was the depot for one of the four rail lines that ran through Atlanta in 1864.
(The Gallery, Atlanta, Civil War, Geo. Barnard, Horses, Railroads)

Mysterious Tunnel: 1924
... a government building, probably dating to the time of the Civil War. Beyond Repair The remains of the auto in the upper right have me ... 
Posted by Dave - 04/08/2021 - 12:49pm -

September 26, 1924. Washington, D.C. "Mysterious tunnel." A strong Hardy Boys vibe here. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.
UPDATE: While initial speculation (bootlegging, espionage) was soon dispelled by an eccentric insect expert's explanation that he had dug the passages "for exercise," historical evidence suggests that this was a tunnel of love. Or at the very least, bigamy.
Old BasementIt's probably an old basement from a burnt building. Burnt building debris falls into the basement and leaves voids to be discovered later.
[A plausible theory, but incorrect. - Dave]
That's probablyjust an forgotten old septic tank.
[What it is is what the caption says. - Dave]
It's da cops, boys!The men in suits look like they may be detectives.  Am I even warm?
RemainsNext to the laundry, the bones of a Model T.
The interesting case of Allen v. AllenIt seems that tunnel building wasn't the only hobby of Dr. Dyar. According to the interesting case of Allen v. Allen, 193 Pacific Reporter 539, Dr. Dyar was also a practicing bigamist. He apparently married his second wife using the name of Wilfred Allen. His second family seemed to have lived nearby his first in Washington, DC.  The question is was he digging his tunnels to connect the homes of his two families? (The reporter who broke the first story of Dr. Dyar being the source of the tunnels also found a second set of tunnels at his house on B Street.) At some point, his first wife had had enough and wanted out.  This would seem to have left wide open his relationship with his second wife except that they had concocted a fictional husband who they now needed to remove from the scene. So, they loaded the kids up in a ship and went west for a quickie divorce in Reno.  Unfortunately for the Allens/Dyars the judge in Reno didn't buy their story. Not sure how it all sorted itself out in the end, but I do know that the good doctor suddenly died five years after the story of his tunnels made the local papers.
DetourThe alleyway has been blocked with a board nailed to the trees; the lantern (red, maybe) will serve as a warning at night. Also note the camera tripod.
Two guesses.Underground railroad, or, secret distillery.
RumrunnersMight this have had something to do with Prohibition? The man standing over the hole is holding a broken bottle neck, and some of the participants are grinning like they've figured it out. In recent years out here in San Diego, the DEA and INS have found several "mysterious tunnels" running under the international boundary between Tijuana and San Diego. Somehow those tunnel discoveries never seem to inspire the kind of jollity seen here.
Make a sharp leftAre you sure that rabbit said this was the way to Albuquerque?
Calling Dan BrownA mysterious tunnel discovered in our nation's capital! Those pesky Freemasons are at it again.
"Upon closer inspection ...""This is clearly a mystery tunnel," said D.C. Police Inspector Sherman T. Ransom, second from right in photo.
AlsoA strong hat vibe.
If you dig a hole that's deep enoughEveryone will want to jump in.
-- Firesign Theatre
What's so funny?Could the man bent over the hole be holding the key?
Who wants to crawl in the dirt?Hey, I know!  Let's get the the skinny kid with the newsie cap and light colored jacket!  It'll be a hoot!
Call for Elliott NessThe twenties, an alley, a tunnel.  I suspect something to do with the Volstead Act.
Spider HoleIt's where Saddam Hussein's great grandfather hid out.
It's the heat!Prohibition was in full swing at this point. The official looking men, the camera tripod, a broken bottle in the hand of the bull leaning over the hole. The happy expression on the face of the young man coming out of the hole. Perhaps a distillery raid?
Very suspiciousIt looks like the piece of sheet metal was used to hide the mysterious tunnel.
Prohibition?Caould it be a cellar to hide illegal liquor? Looks like the fellow leaning down towards the hole is holding part of a broken bottle out towards the fellow coming up from the hle.
Escape Route?Given that 1924 is during Prohibition, I'd bet it was an escape tunnel from a basement "speakeasy" in one of the background buildings.
Root cellar!Someone's smugglin' turnips!
Well dressed gopherEvery kid should wear a light colored jacket and cap when going into a hole in the ground. I'm wondering what the man is handing the boy. It almost looks like money?
Illicit booze pipelineIf it's connected to the garage in the background, I would guess it's an escape route from a speakeasy.
Before Groundhog DayBack in the day if Jimmy came out of his underground lair and saw his shadow, it meant 6 more weeks of winter. 
ClewsThe man bending over the hole looks to be holding a broken bottle. Could this perhaps have something to do with prohibition? Maybe it was an escape tunnel from a speakeasy?
The Underground exposedSo much for the Trilateral Commission's secret tunnel to sneak up on the Masons and take over their plan for world domination.
ProhibitionCould the mysterious tunnel have anything to do with bootlegging?
My Guess Is:Considering the year of the photo. That what they have found is either the location of a still or some bootlegger's stashing place.
Rabbit HoleAlice's favorite tea parties take place here.
Scram It's the G-men!Must be an escape tunnel from a speakeasy.
Where's Geraldo when you need him?The fellow with the pocket watch and no jacket doesn't look like he is having a good time. Perhaps, since this is the height of prohibition, that is because these hardy boys have found where he stores the hooch.
German Spies!Washington got its first inkling of this subterranean network when a truck sank a wheel into one of the tunnels in an alleyway behind the Pelham Courts apartments on P Street, making the hole shown in our photo. Initial speculation centered on German spies and rum-runners. The truth turned out to be more prosaic, yet still bizarre.
They were the work of a millionaire Smithsonian entomologist named Harrison Dyar, who said he had dug them between 1908 and 1916 "for the exercise," although he clearly seemed to have a fixation on underground passages. After his newspaper interview in 1924 (below), he was found to have dug another network of tunnels around his  current home on B Street (Independence Avenue). He died in 1929, though parts of his underground labyrinth were still being stumbled upon (and into) as late as 1958.
Inside the tunnelClick to enlarge.

Could that bea broken bottle the one guy is holding in his hand? Hard to tell, but this being 1924, it's a good chance that the tunnel has something to do with Prohibition. Ask Al Capone. Or, maybe, Geraldo Rivera.
Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr.Could this be one of Dr. Dyar's creations?
I GuessThis is some sort of forgotten security/escape tunnel leading from a government building, probably dating to the time of the Civil War.
Beyond RepairThe remains of the auto in the upper right have me wondering what model year it is.  Must have been one of the first Model T's from '08.
AmazingInteresting hobby.  Some people collect stamps; some build model aeroplanes.  He wanted something different.
That's a swell pictureBut I can't see Stan or Ollie.
T timeThe Model T has a brass-era radiator piled on the frame that was last used in 1916. The headlight are mounted in a style that started in the summer of 1915.
Mr. Dyar Explains

Washington Post, Sep 27, 1924 

Mr. Dyar at first was reluctant to discuss his strange handiwork which, when uncovered, created such a mystery that theories that the tunnels had been used as a meeting place for German spies in war days were given as much attention as the police theory that they were the rendezvous of bootleggers.  It had been suggested even that they labyrinth was the workshop of a gang of counterfeiters.
"No." chuckled Mr. Dyar.  "The theories are all wrong.  You have solved the mystery all right.  I dug the tunnels.  I did it for exercise. My son, Otis Dyar, who is now a man and married out in California, was a little boy when I began to dig. He used to play in the tunnels.
"In fact," he continued, "other boys played in the tunnels and while they didn't annoy me they became a nuisance to some of the neighbors. Complaints were made and I recall on one occasion Detective O'Brien investigated. 
"Another time, I recall, a policeman came snooping around to look into the tunnels.  I played a little joke on him.  I put a clock back in the tunnel and when the policeman heard it ticking he must have thought it a time clock on an infernal machine or a smuggler's den or something."
Contractors and engineers who have viewed that part of the labyrinth which has been opened declare the bricklaying and construction of the passages generally the work of an expert artisan.
"I'm not a bricklayer," Mr. Dyar said with a laugh. "My business is with mosquitoes, moths and butterflies.  I just laid the bricks on evenly; that's all."
Mr. Dyar said he knew nothing of the German newspapers which were found in the tunnel and which gave rise to the rumor that perhaps German spies had occupied the underground place.  He pointed out that they were dated in 1917, two years after he had moved from the Twenty-first street house.
aka Wilfred AllenBut wait - there's more.  In 1906 (one year after he started tunneling for exercise), Dyar secretly married Wellesca Pollack using the alias Wilfred Allen while remaining married to his first wife, Zella Peabody. The two of them had three sons, and he deeded $100,000 in property to her. Unfortunately for him, he had another hobby - writing and publishing autobiographical short stories about a character named Mr. French. In one such story, Mr. French deeded a substantial amount of property to "Flossie," until Mrs. French discovered it. That story was used against him in two highly-publicized divorce suits, Dyar's Reno suit to divorce Zella (which failed on jurisdictional grounds), and Zella's California suit to divorce Dyer (which apparently succeeded). Then, as Harrison Dyar, he legally married Wellesca, and adopted their three sons.
[Wow. Amazing. - Dave]
Electric torchI'd like to have that flashlight he's holding.
(I collect flashlights, old ones are especially cool)
The CarThe car is indeed a Ford. It has obviously been disassembled, and the fuel tank is out of place, and the steering column is lying much lower than it would be in use. It has a brass radiator so is pre 1917, but has electric headlights so is post 1914, so is only about ten years old at the time of the photograph.
One of the mudguards (fenders) is at the base of the tree hiding the feet of the smiling man in the greatcoat.
Joel and Ethan - are you watching?If this isn't a perfect vehicle for the Coen Brothers, I don't know what is.
(The Gallery, Bizarre, Curiosities, D.C., Natl Photo)

Harpers Ferry: 1865
... Wet plate glass negative (detail) by James Gardner. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size. ... 
Posted by Dave - 05/19/2008 - 11:37pm -

1865. "Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. View of Maryland Heights at confluence of Shenandoah and Potomac rivers." Wet plate glass negative (detail) by James Gardner. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.
Bridge and BoatThat bridge is lovely! And it looks like there's a boat being drawn by horses in the canal on the left.
Harpers FerryFirst saw a picture of Harpers Ferry in a 1950s National Geographic. Took the family to see it in 1958 and we climbed to the top of mountain where early pictures showed Union Troops. Now the National Park Service runs everything.
Maryland HeightsThis view looks downstream; the rocks on the far side are Maryland Heights. The bridge in the center is still represented by a line of piers adjacent to the present bridges.
Anniversary of the RaidNext year marks the 150th anniversary of the raid on Harpers Ferry. More info, including some very nice photos, here:
Harpers FerryThey've done a lot of restoration in the town over the past few years.  It's always breezy because of the two rivers, so even on the hottest days it's usually pleasant.  Plenty to see and learn, and the restaurants provide rest and excellent provender!  Beautiful spot that we revisit often.
Harpers Ferry BridgeThe bridge spans are some of the earliest examples of the Bollman truss, a hybrid truss/suspension design which originated on the B&O. The only surviving example is in Savage, Maryland.
Harpers Bridge Recent ViewsAnyone interested in "current" views?  1974 from very roughly same location:

and 12/6/07 opposite direction,

Bollman bridge piers remain in river at left, 1893 replacement bridge in center, 1930's replacement bridge at right as the railroad addressed the horrid original alignment here (look at those curves at span ends in the 1865 version).
The predecessors to the Bollman were blown up over and over again as the Civil War surged back and forth here. 
Harpers FerryAnd Amtrak can take you right there on the spot. There's the train station on the west side of the rivers, which provides a great view as well. Amtrak train the Cardinal from NY to Chicago through Washington DC will take you there. It's a beautiful trip through the Adirondack mountains going west, been through there myself more than once.  
Harpers Ferry TodayThe C&O Canal Towpath, a national park, follows the Potomac River from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown (D.C.). That makes it a 185-mile park, and the stretch through Harpers Ferry is among the most beautiful parts. Strongly recommended for anyone who can walk, bicycle or roll for a mile or two.
[There's also a nice footpath through the woods to Maryland Heights -- the top of the cliff to the left. The view is spectacular. - Dave]
One of my favorite places on Earth!I can remember stopping there on my way back to live in Kansas after graduating from high school and college in Maryland. I foolishly stood in the middle of the street and stared across the river at the tunnel.  A horn honked and I turned and saw a beautiful long-haired blonde driving a huge red convertible. The world seemed rife with possiblities at that moment in a way that was different from anything that followed in later years!
Harpers Ferry by TrainIt's the Amtrak Capital Limited, train No. 29 west, and 30 east.  Of course before Amtrak this town was served by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the original Capital Limited.
That House!!Having visited Harper's Ferry several times, I started to search my photos to see if I had a modern comparable shot... but the thing that stood out most to me was that tiny white house on the left edge of the photo!! The structure is still there and people always stop to explore it!

There's also an old ad that seems to be painted into the side of the mountain, which I've never been able to figure out what it says... I see "powder"...

Last Trip TogetherMy husband Steve and his brother-in-law Jack visited Harpers Ferry in March of 1995. Steve, the shutterbug of the family, took along his camcorder and we have lots of footage. I've never been there and now, thanks to this photo, I'm going to "revisit" the area by viewing this footage again.
Steve and Jack will never know how poignant their vacation was. Jack passed away the very next month and Steve less than four years later. Both died in their 40's--both lives cut way too short.
Powder SignAccording to the FAQ page on the NPS website for Harpers Ferry, the sign reads (or read) Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder, and it was painted some time between 1903 and 1906.
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, Civil War, James Gardner)

Hotel Rueger: 1913
... Capitol, his place was requisitioned during the Civil War by the Confederate Navy, and Rueger returned to his native Germany. He came ... 
Posted by Dave - 02/10/2023 - 12:20pm -

1913. Richmond, Virginia. "Hotel Rueger -- Bank and Ninth Streets." Now the Commonwealth Hotel. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Deja VuI’m pretty sure my father took me and my brothers there on a business trip in the late '60s. Wow! Just the sight of this brought that back to me.
He worked for the C&O Railroad.  We went to a record store and were able to listen to records via headphones. That was a first. We bought a Ten Years After record.
Thank you for all the pictures that you post!
Movin' on upRichmonders of 1913 were already playing a game of "Remember when?"
as what is pictured here had just opened, replacing an earlier version

Not sure how many buildings over the centuries have occupied what must have been a choice corner - it's right across from the Capitol - but the present occupant looks like it will be around a while:  it's currently the Commonwealth Suites Hotel.
Twists of historyIt started in 1846 as Louis Rueger’s saloon. Across from the Virginia (and Confederate) Capitol, his place was requisitioned during the Civil War by the Confederate Navy, and Rueger returned to his native Germany. He came back to find ashes, rebuilt, and his place became known as the Lafayette Saloon because it was near the Lafayette Artillery Armory. 
The Ruegers (now three generations) added boarding to their saloon, and in 1901 opened a three-story hotel bearing the family name. In 1912, grandson William Rueger built the ten-story building in the photo. In the 1950s new owners changed the name to Hotel Raleigh. In the 1980s a developer remodeled and called it Commonwealth Park Suites. Since 2004 it has been just The Commonwealth. 
But the Rueger name has been revived for Rueger’s at the Commonwealth, offering what sounds impossible: “Southern comfort food with a healthy and modern twist.”
(Apostrophilic Shorpyites will note that the 1912 hotel sign lost its apostrophe; it’s not clear why.)
[Apostrophes on vertical signage are problematic for what I would think are obvious reasons. - Dave]
Well, I intended a joke, getting both its and it's next to 'apostrophe'.
Nevertheless, problematic situations can be overcome: see below.
Evita's?Are the architectural balcony-like features in the center of the even floors just decorative or are they actually used for something?  Perhaps for bunting to go along with the flagpoles on alternate floors?  They appear too narrow to use as balconies (unless one is singing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina.")  They are nice touches to the building -- does anyone do that sort of thing anymore?
[Ask Juliet. - Dave]
As it looks nowAs “the Commonwealth”
3-star then and nowThe Commonwealth is a 3-star hotel.  It has aged well.  Judging by writeups in a 1914 edition of The Bankers Magazine and the 1920 Official Hotel Red Book and Directory, it began as a 3-star hotel.  And, as advertised, it has proven to be fireproof.
GlenJay is correct -- Southern comfort food is not healthy; but mmmmmm ... it is some kind of good.  Tofu fried chicken is never gonna give me comfort.
My guess isIt's a 1908 or 1909 Pope-Hartford Touring
(The Gallery, DPC, Richmond)

Ghost Coach: 1930
... train crash -- at Quintinshill during the first World War -- I believe more died in the fire afterward than in the impact. 4928 ... other cars would be removed first. In the American Civil War, cars from other railroads were often borrowed to move troops. This ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/22/2012 - 7:02pm -

Washington, D.C., or vicinity circa 1915-1930. One of three H&E glass negatives labeled "Car exterior. Washington & Old Dominion R.R." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size. The others are here and here.
Mail CarThat was a mail car, usually the first car behind the tender car.
All Aboard for Petticoat Junction!But where's the rest of the Hooterville Cannonball?
Combination CoachThis old gal carried passengers as well as mail and parcels between cities. One great picture and she was probably on her way to the scrap yard.
Good EngineeringThis is obviously an OLD car by 1930, built maybe at the turn of the century, yet look at its excellent construction. 6-wheel bogies with elaborate suspension for a smooth ride, the long chassis still straight as an arrow despite its age, lots of elbow room inside with elegant clerestory windows and lots of ventilators. This was the product of a thriving American transportation industry at the top of its game. 
Pretty butOld coaches are the same this side of the water; lovely to look at and deadly dangerous if there's a crash. There's breakable, splintering, flammable wood, gas lighting in some cases, paraffin or kerosene in others. In Britain's worst train crash -- at Quintinshill during the first World War -- I believe more died in the fire afterward than in the impact.
4928Perhaps this was a mail car or a car with space for freight, but there is also obvious passenger seating in it as well. And if it typically traveled just behing a tender, why would it have that "porch" on its freight end?
Cue the Ghostly OrchestraClang, Clang, Clang went the Scary Trolley!
Ding, Ding, Ding went the Bell of Death!
Zing, Zing, Zing went my heartstrings as we started for Spookington Dell!
And this car isA 1908 PRR roster shows this as a Class OK combine (baggage/coach) built in 1900 and owned by the PB&W (the subsidiary of the Pennsy that owned the tracks on the line from Philly to DC). These cars were rebuilt with full vestibules at some point, because there is a diagram for that configuration; obviously this one escaped. Apparently these cars always had steam heat. There were three different subclasses depending on the size of the baggage compartment; this is the smallest, with the 20-foot compartment.
The six-wheel trucks show that this is a "heavyweight" steel car. The interior appears to have walkover seats so the car doesn't have to be turned. Platforms (and later vestibules) were typical on baggage cars to allow train crews to pass through while in motion.
The Ghost CarI agree with the first description of this car's origins.  The car was still on the PRR roster on 1-1-1914, but was gone by 3-1-1916.  The lettering couldn't have lasted 14 years.  My guess is the photos were taken shortly after sale to the W&OD.  Moreover, the truss rods under the center of the car indicate that this was a fully wooden car both when it was constructed and when these photos were taken.
Further ResearchI've come across a classification guide which indicates that class O cars are wooden combines. Class PB steel combines in the same guide are only about 10 feet longer, but weigh 50 percent more (120,000 vs. 80,000 pounds).
Checking in Ames's book on the W&OD, I see absolutely no evidence that this car was ever used on that line. Passenger operations were electric, with the exception of several 1878/1887 coaches purchased from the Manhattan Electric Rwy which were considerably older in design than this car. The only combines on the roster were either electrics or doodlebugs. My guess is that this car was just passing through.
[I think there was probably another reason for taking these photos. - Dave]
PilotThis car seems to have a tube pilot on the far truck, which might indicate it was used behind an interurban or box motor in push/pull service.
Thoughts on the Mystery CoachChecking Herb Harwood Jr.'s "Rails to the Blue Ridge: The Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, 1847-1968" I find no reference to any ex-Pennsylvania railroad coaches in the company's roster. That being said, I have a couple of ideas.
As far as the location of the photograph, the coach appears to be sitting on one leg of a wye, used for turning locomotives or whole trains (given the length of the stub track, just locomotives in this case). According to Hardwood's track map, and assuming this is the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, that leaves four possible locations for this photograph: Bluemont Junction, Herndon, Leesburg, or Bluemont. Given the topography in the background, and having bicycled the W&OD quite a lot, I would suggest the likely location of this to be Bluemont Junction.
I have come up with one possible explanation for why this coach never appeared on the company rosters. It is possible that this coach was purchased by the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, but never operated over the line, and simply sat disused in its location pictured. The three-axle trucks indicate to me that the coach is possibly quite heavy, perhaps too heavy to operate on the W&OD's light rails. It certainly would not have been the only instance of a railroad purchasing equipment too heavy for its rails. (In my home province of Ontario, one of the two locomotives of the Huntsville and Lake of Bays Railway was found to be too heavy and remained stored during its 11-year career on the railroad).
One other possibility that has come to mind is that this is not the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad at all, but rather the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad which branched off the current rail line as it reached the Virginia side of the Potomac, and headed north to Rosslyn. This railroad was a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which would explain the coach. If the photograph was simply labeled (Washington DC area), it is possible that the railroad was misidentified. This, however, is complete conjecture, as I am not even sure whether passenger service was ever operated (or intended to be operated but wasn't) over the Rosslyn Connecting Railroad.
[The photos are labeled as indicated in the caption. - Dave]
One thing I can say for surethe number designations on the car are most definitely
That font is unmistakable. 
#4928 Pennsylvania Combination carMy opinions are just that--pity the photographer isn't alive to comment.  That said:
I disagree with the car going to scrap.  The gas light globes are still inside the interior.  If it is to be scrapped all the parts to keep for repairing/building other cars would be removed first.
In the American Civil War, cars from other railroads were often borrowed to move troops.  This inter-rail cooperation worked well-- There are several military grounds near the W&OD RR.  Fort Myer, Va. and Camp Auger, near Merrifield, Virginia - off the Dunn Loring RR stop on the W&OD line.  Livestock pens were near the one W&OD RR's freight station for the Cavalry horses and or livestock being shipped to and from the more western towns, e.g. Herndon, etc.
Military grounds near railroad lines would be Camp A. A.Humphreys aka Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Quantico, Virginia which are off the Alexandria Railyard heading south on the Southern, Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac line.  On the Mt. Vernon line, it could have gone by Fort Marcy.  
It could have easily been sold to Virginia Central Rwy or the Fruit Grower's Express Rwy, for the use of the company's executives or for an occasional run for passengers; e.g. executive use, party, etc.
It may be entirely possible that this car never went past the railroad bridge into Virginia.  It could have easily been sold to a short line (East Washington, Rwy)and or sitting in the more rural sections of Washington, DC around Ivy City--a connecting yard to Union Station.
If memory serves me correctly, Penn RR did invest in the W&OD briefly.  This may be of that brief period.
A combine, but not for mailThese three pictures show a rail car that once ruled the main line but now has been modified for a lowly afterlife on a forgotten branchline.  The car has a 20-foot compartment for freight and express at one end. The pigeonhole box near the roof line being for small packages and company mail moving from station to station. If it were a US Mail compartment, there would have been the mandatory fixtures for bags, pouches, sorting tables and sorting racks - plus there would have been a letter drop slot on the side of the car. The rear section offers walk-over coach seats.
We can see this was a mainline car account of the six wheeled trucks, walkway buffers and the three hoses next to the coupler. One hose was for airbrakes, one was a communication line to signal to the engineer by the train crew, and one was for steam heat. The pilot (or cowcatcher to some) on the far end of the car implies some type of push-pull service.
If this the W&OD, I believe they had some self-powered "doodlebug" cars and this car could have served as a trailer being pulled along by the power car, until it was time to return and the train was shoved back towards its origin. A procedure quite effective to give the engineer a cramped neck, and the flagman the worry of being on the cutting edge of any grade crossing incident with a car or truck. The flagman usually manned a little peanut whistle powered by the air line that he would signal with as the train approached crossings and stations.
The carHere is a link that refers to this car.
(The Gallery, D.C., Harris + Ewing, Railroads)

Ghosts of Atlanta: 1864
"The War in the West." 1864 photo (half of a stereograph) by George N. Barnard. Atlanta Intelligencer newspaper office by the railroad depot. Exposure times were so long that anyone walking appears only as ... Here is a site with several images of Georgia during the Civil War...scroll down to 1864, and you will see the listing for this picture. ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/31/2012 - 7:20pm -

"The War in the West." 1864 photo (half of a stereograph) by George N. Barnard. Atlanta Intelligencer newspaper office by the railroad depot. Exposure times were so long that anyone walking appears only as an ectoplasmic blur. View full size. Note tents in background and troop train with soldiers atop the boxcars.
where was this in Atlanta?Anyone know where this was in Atlanta?  Looking for an approximate street address.
Masonic lodgePerhaps the large masonic lodge in the background is still standing ... might be a clue.
Try the main PeachtreeTry the main Peachtree Street /  locate the address of the Atlanta terminal at the time  /  try Five Points area / could it be near Kennesaw?  good luck--former Atlanta area resident and interested in knowing as well.
Masonic Lodge (1864) in AtlantaI have been researching, and it appears that the Masonic Lodge, and another building called The Trout House were on Decatur St. in Atlanta.
Click on this link     (Trout house beside Masonic lodge.)
Here is a site with several images of Georgia during the Civil War...scroll down to 1864, and you will see the listing for this picture.
Now I am off to find out if this Masonic Lodge is still standing.
Where was this in Atlanta? (answer)I have been checking around and asking around about where this area in this photo might be, and a new friend on an Atlanta school site gave me this information...
"Decatur Street is one of the main 5 roads that leads to Five Points, which basically is the center of downtown Atlanta, and was the center of town at that time.  I think, but not sure, based on that picture and some of the other photos of the Union troop encampments, etc, that the Masonic Hall and Trout House were pretty close to what is now 5 Points.  Most of that area of Decatur Street now has been renovated over the last 25 years and is where Georgia State University is located.  I am fairly certain that neither of these structures is there any longer.  When I went to GSU in the 1960's, I travelled almost the length of Decatur Street to get there.  I do not recall ever seeing either of them, even back then, at that time, and to date, much of that area was torn down with Urban Renewal funds from the feds.  It was mainly run down buildings and older businesses.  It is possible that one of those run down buildings may have been one of the structures.  However, Decatur Street runs east for a few miles, and they may have been futher east than I think.  During the Civil War era, though, most of that area was rural.  The actual Battle of Atlanta that is depicted in the Cyclorama painting took place away from the center of town out in the rural area of Decatur St/Road & what is now Dekalb Ave.(same road).  
At least this clears up a little bit for us all.
Underground AtlantaMy guess is that this was taken near the corner of Peachtree SW (then Whitehall) and Wall St.  That would put it in what is now Underground Atlanta, I think.
At the extreme left is the old Trout House, the principal hotel at the time; tracks of three of the chief railroads here crossed Whitehall Street, on which the "Intelligencer" office fronted.
Whitehall & AlabamaMy guess is the corner of Whitehall and Alabama Streets looking northeast. Currently Peachtree Street. Back then Peachtree changed to Whitehall south of Five Point. 
Atlanta DepotNoticed that the same photographer walked a block or so to the right after taking this one. Does that help narrow the location down?
Masonic LodgeBy the Masons' own records, the Lodge in the background stood on the corner of Lloyd (now Central Avenue) and Alabama Street, at south angle. So I would guess that if we're one block west it's on what is now Pryor Street or if two blocks Peachtree.
HandbillIf you look on the corner of the building, you can just make out the word "frolic." Can't quite tell what comes before.
[Cobblers? Gobblers? - Dave]
Atlanta Intelligencer office I have mapped many of Barnard's photographs on this interactive map. This picture is marked as Pushpin 10.
The playbill pasted to the building in the foreground advertises a stage show by Union troops to raise money for Mrs. Rebecca S. Welch, whose husband and son (Confederates) were both killed in Virginia. 
The Bottom of the Playbill Reads:
Benefit Night / Maj(?) I. Smith / Leader of the Band / of the 33rd / Mass. / The Laughable Pantomime / The Cobbler’s Frolic / at the Atheneum / tonight / Saturday /Nov. 5th
Location of this buildingThis building was located close to where the Peach Drop tower currently is, at Underground Atlanta.  Because of the viaduct that created Underground Atlanta, it would have stood below the current street level.  It was on Whitehall Street (now Peachtree).
(The Gallery, Atlanta, Civil War, Geo. Barnard)

Atlanta Depot: 1864
1864. "Atlanta, Georgia, railroad yards." Wet plate collodion glass negative, left half of stereograph ... are called stub switches. (The Gallery, Atlanta, Civil War, Geo. Barnard, Railroads) ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/22/2012 - 2:44pm -

1864. "Atlanta, Georgia, railroad yards." Wet plate collodion glass negative, left half of stereograph pair, by George N. Barnard. View full size.
BurnedAnd on September 2nd 1864, the departing Union troops set fire to this railroad terminal and all its standing Confederate railroad rolling stock to ensure the enemy would not be able to readily reclaim the area. Next day, the mayor of Atlanta and aldermen surrendered the city to the Union, asking for further protections and no additional private property destruction.
That scenario was famously dramatized in Gone With the Wind, both book and film.
Point (Switch) BladesNotice how there are no blades as such. Sections of rail move across when the lever is pushed/pulled rather than the traditional machined tapered blade. 
BusterThis photo brightens the day by bringing Buster Keaton's "The General" to mind -- especially the scene involving the famous Keaton curve. 
Lil SwitcherCheck out the cute little switch engine steaming away over by the cut of cars on the right. Those stub switch stands are the precursors to the harp switch stands, seen here.
StacksDoes anyone know why the engine stacks are so big, especially compared to the size of the shunters. Creosote traps? Flash and ember traps?
Locomotive SmokestacksThe large stacks were indeed intended to help keep embers from falling on the grass along the tracks.  They are much more complicated than they appear since they had cast iron deflectors and screens inside the stacks.
Hangin' OutThat's a lot of guys just hangin' out in the switchyard...
Link-and-pin couplersBefore the day of the automatic coupler, many a railroad worker lost limb or life to the dangers involved with building a train.
Blades, points, switchesThe "blades" you refer to are properly called "points."  Points move back and forth to be pushed close to the main running rails to make the locomotives go to the appropriate track. The switches are called stub switches.
(The Gallery, Atlanta, Civil War, Geo. Barnard, Railroads)

The Roundhouse: 1864
... departure." Wet plate glass negative by George N. Barnard. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size. ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/01/2012 - 4:07pm -

November 1864. "Railroad yards at Atlanta. The Roundhouse. Ruins of depot, blown up on Sherman's departure." Wet plate glass negative by George N. Barnard. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.
Switch DesignThey had a more obvious idea of how a switch had to work.
PeacefulA rather tranquil scene with the man taking his ease on the boxcar roof. The raw logs under the rails are in sharp contrast to the sleepers of today. But two years on all was to change.
[This isn't "two years on" -- both photos (which show different roundhouses) were made late in 1864. - Dave]
Oops!Sorry Dave - my picture source was dated wrong. My knowledge of your Civil War needs work. Guess the only thing I got right was both pictures have trains in them.
[Confusion probably stems from the fact that 1866 is the year the folio of photographs including the image below was published, not when the pictures were taken.  - Dave]
Pre OSHA and NSFWPrior to the invention of the Westinghouse air brake in 1869 shortly after the Civil War, the brakeman's job was a miserable and dangerous one, while being constantly exposed to the elements when on duty.
Notice the long metal vertical rod operated by a handlebar on the back of the third car from the left which actuated the brake mechanisms on the trucks. Each car had to have its brakes adjusted manually by the brakeman sitting on the roof.
 The third car clearly shows there's a footrest for the brakeman and directly to the right and slightly below is an open window where the foreman may shout orders at him.
Such luxuries!
Notice also the coupler system in this photo prior to the invention of the Janney spring-loaded coupler of 1874.
Look at those big square holes you had to load with big iron pins to tie the cars together.
Many opportunities to lose a limb or just get squished altogether, which happened often. 
(The Gallery, Atlanta, Civil War, Geo. Barnard, Railroads)

The Great Emancipators: 1863
... an oilcloth cover that was issued to the troops in the Civil War. Looks like ... Looks like a load of coffins to me. I saw the same ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/01/2012 - 8:32pm -

Aquia Creek Landing, Virginia, circa 1863. "Federal Army. Clerks of the Commissary Depot by railroad car and packing cases." A somewhat unsettling scene. Wet plate glass negative by Alexander Gardner. View full size.
Cup HolderApparently it's like taking a picture with your tea on a table.
HatsHats seem to play a subtle role in this photo.
How is it that the gent on the far left has such a shiny hat?  It looks like plastic.  Is it oiled?
[Or maybe leather. - Dave]
HattageThe covering on the kepi is actually an oilcloth cover that was issued to the troops in the Civil War.
Looks like ...Looks like a load of coffins to me. I saw the same stacked in Vietnam.
[These are hardtack crates ("Army Bread"). As noted in the caption, this is the commissary depot.  - Dave]

What were they really fighting for?I'll see your cringe and raise you a wince.  It should be remembered, though, that at that time the Union states' attitude toward races other than white was  rather uncharitable, albeit in (sometimes) more subtle ways. It is good that we are today disturbed by such insensitivity. Thank you, Dave, for reminding us of how far we've come.
They have the lookof bullies to me.
Boo HooeySensitivities?  Didn't Janet Napolitano just ask a military officer to refill her glass?  People had servants back in the day ... nothing in this picture shocks except the foreboding bureaucracy that would taint this "nation" for generations.  Sic Semper Tyrannus!
[Always the cherry on the sundae when the poster's last word on the subject is amusingly misspelled. - Dave]
OuchI didn't understand your comment until I scrolled down.  It is a very sad picture!!!  Double cringe!
Unsettling indeedWhat makes it so is not servitude but servility.
That HatLooks more like an early conductor's hat to me than a kepi.  No badge, though -- but then, no military insignia at all.
His LookI think what disturbs me more than anything is the serene look on the black gentleman's face.  To me it suggests he may be conditioned to accept his lower position, or it could be that he's secretly donning a mask. 
Either way, cheers to those who were similarly disturbed, and congrats on all of us moving far from the days portrayed in this picture.
UnfortunateI hate this picture, I really do. That man sitting on the ground had just as much potential, possibly more, than any of those men around him. Too bad he wasn't able to use any of it. So glad that it's not that way anymore!! 
ProjectionThere appears to be an awful lot of it going on here. And I don't mean in the picture.
Looking on the bright sideWhile not happy with the way people were treated back then, I do wonder if he had a few good secrets stored away!
Freeze!I hate history. Why can't everything have been just like it is now and never, ever change?
Handsome People in Strange ClothesNothing about this picture offends me. It is of its time. I love the clarity - which is remarkable.
ClerksIt is interesting that these men (except the man holding the cup and perhaps the one with the beard) are not wearing uniforms.  The man with the cup is wearing a fatigue blouse and the army "brogans."
The man with the cup is most likely a freed slave.  These 'contrabands' were often hired as servants.  Higher ranking officers were issued a pay allowance, extra rations and uniforms for a servant.  At least this man is a paid worker - far removed from slavery.  Given the choice, I think the man would keep this station in life over his former state.  
(The Gallery, Alexander Gardner, Civil War, Railroads)

Belle Isle: 1865
... View full size. Glass plate negative from the Civil War collection compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge. Belle ... 
Posted by Dave - 09/08/2011 - 6:24pm -

Spring 1865. Belle Isle railroad bridge from the south bank of the James River after the fall of Richmond. View full size. Glass plate negative from the Civil War collection compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge.
Belle IsleThis was one of the first Confederate prison camps of the Civil War. It opened after the First Battle of Bull Run and held Union Army NCO's and enlisted men. There were no barracks constructed, the only shelters were tents. Just a guess but that fence along the top of the ridge was likely the stockade. While it was intended to hold only 3,000 numbers grew to double that and led to many prisoners being shipped further south to other camps, most infamously Andersonville.
In any instance, the river made escapes dangerous, especially in light of the weakened condition of most prisoners.
LensSomeone miscalculated the coverage of the lens.
Belle IsleWhat are those large buildings in the distance on the right? they look like modern apartment complexes.
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, Civil War, Richmond)

Battle of Nashville: 1864
... Tennessee Capitol in the distance. From photographs of the War in the West: Hood before Nashville. Continuing his policy of the offensive ... through his eyes. Battle of Nashville During the Civil War, an army was composed of Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry. The ... 
Posted by Dave - 09/11/2011 - 7:59pm -

1864. "Nashville. Railroad yard and depot with locomotives; Tennessee Capitol in the distance. From photographs of the War in the West: Hood before Nashville. Continuing his policy of the offensive at any cost, Gen. John B. Hood brought his reduced army before the defenses of Nashville, where it was overthrown by Gen. George H. Thomas on December 15-16, 1864, in the most complete victory of the war. If the date borne on this photograph is correct, it was taken in the course of the battle." Wet plate glass negative by George N. Barnard. View full size.
War BonnetWow, nice image of the poke bonnet on the lady to the right.
Elegant EnginesThose locomotives are beautiful. Looks like the one that pulled Capt. James West and Artemus Gordon in the Wild Wild West.
Battle of NashvilleTo clarify, Hood was the Confederate general, attacking Nashville from the south. The Union defenders had larger numbers, and better leadership, and destroyed Hood's army.
In the middle of a war zone, many of the locos are immaculately maintained, in contrast to the track and buildings. The first engine out is interesting, bigger and fancier than the others, and with unusual outside bearing lead truck. Wonder if it was getting prepped for an official's (Gen. Thomas?) inspection train? The tenders are lettered "US Military RR."
Thomas CircleMajor General George H. Thomas, a native Virginian, remained true to his oath and became the most successful Union general during the war. His victory over Hood at Nashville did little to improve Grant's dislike of him. Thomas, though, was enormously popular with his soldiers in the Army of the Cumberland who called him "Old Pap". He is commemorated at Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C. (Connecting the Shorpy dots)
Holy Mogul!Those shiny American 4-4-0's are really beautiful, but the most interesting locomotive in the picture has to be the burned-out hulk right in the middle.  It appears to be a 2-6-0 Mogul with a swiveling front "bogie" truck.
Considering that the first recorded locomotive of this type was built for the Louisville & Nashville in 1860, this could the remains of that historic engine, the first of thousands of a very successful locomotive type.
Sure would like to know how she ended up in such terrible shape.  Fortunes of war?
Beat me to it, Code BasherAs many times as I've seen this image and focused on the brass and woodwork of the 4-4-0s by the engine house, this time the 2-6-0 jumped out at me like something from the future (how did that get there?!); the first comment in the column addressed my surprise perfectly.
Indexing filesIs there any that the pictures can be indexed?  When perusing your files for long periods of time, as I do, I would like to be able to quit the site and return at some time and be able to locate the place where I was previously. However I find no way to accomplish this.  Can you help?
[Bookmark the page. - Dave]
A part of my history was hereWhile recently tracing my ancestry, I found one of my great-great-great-great-grandfathers. Thanks to some wonderful 19th century person/group who understood the value in such things, I found a mini biography of him that says he served under General Thomas; enlisted in Company F, 64th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf. in September of 1864. 145 years ago.
I can't wait to further comb through pictures like these. I figure it's the closest I'll ever get to seeing through his eyes.
Battle of NashvilleDuring the Civil War, an army was composed of Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry.  The Cavalry were the eyes and ears of the army.  Without a Calvary component, an army was simply not an effective fighting force.
Gen Hood commanded the Cavalry component of General Johnston's Confederate Army.  Once Atlanta fell, in desperation, the Confederacy split up Johnston's Army and sent Hood to Tennessee to try to disrupt the supply lines to Sherman and to engage the Union forces occupying Tennessee and Kentucky.
For both Johnston and Hood, their mission objectives were simply impossible.  Johnston stood no chance of stopping Sherman without a viable army.  And Hood stood even less of a chance against a well fortified city.  Hood's army were so starved that they actually ate pumpkins and walnuts on the march back to Tennessee.
For an excellent read on the civil war in the western front from a southern private's perspective I urge you to pick up "Company Aytch" by Samuel Watkins - 1882.
Of 3200 men who made up his regiment, 65 returned home - 4 days shy of 4 years from the day they marched off. General Hood sacrificed both legs and an arm in the war.
The story is not one of tactics and strategies, but of the daily life and struggles of the southern soldier. 
Watkins tale is humorous and uplifting. I simply do not know how he found it within himself to keep such a positive spirit against such adversity & desperate circumstances. All of Tennessee should be proud of their native sons... 
It is a great book! Shelby Foote's favorite on the topic. 
Beautiful BuildingThe big building on the hill in the upper right corner is very beautiful. Does anyone know if that building still stands? Regardless of that what is the name of the building so I can search for more pictures.
Tennessee State CapitolAs noted in the caption, the building is the State Capitol.  The street view, though an ugly parking lot now, seems an improvement to me over war nonetheless.
View Larger Map
View of the capital of Nashville  I have lived in Nashville and scoured this area in modern times. The Capital building still stands today without much change! The rail yards shown here in the foreground are long gone but this is the present area of Union street and 10th avenue. Nearby Church street passes under a RR grade. This view looks to the North East and the camera focal length must shorten the distance.
(The Gallery, Civil War, Geo. Barnard, Nashville, Railroads)

Manhattan: 102 Years Ago
... from this phenomenal site are the minimal changes from Civil War customs and architecture up through the 1910s. Regardless of incredible ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/18/2012 - 6:55pm -

Manhattan circa 1908. "New York skyline." Part of an eleven-section panorama. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
White FlierFrom the pre-aviation era when "flier" meant fast ship. The Bunker Hill is an example of first quality American shipbuilding circa 1908.  While "modern" in terms of amenities, ships of this time were not required to carry sufficient numbers of lifeboats for all people aboard.  The Bunker Hill appears to be carrying four. 
Scheduled "White Flier" time for one-way passage between New York and Boston was 15 hours.

ABC Pathfinder Railway Guide, 1912 

Eastern Steamship Corporation
The Great Express White Steel Fliers Massachusetts and Bunker Hill.
Splendid Steel Freight steamships are operated by the Metropolitan Line between Boston, Mass. and New York.

The Massachusetts and Bunker Hill are notable examples of Modern Marine Architecture. Many of their staterooms are en suite, with connecting bath and toilet facilities. All staterooms are most attractively furnished, and equipped with the most modern sanitary fixtures. Inside staterooms are provided with electric fans. They are provided with a most attractive outside dining-room on the Main Deck, a Hurricane Deck Cafe; are equipped for the burning of oil as fuel, with Automatic Sprinkling Appliances, Wireless Telegraphy, Submarine Signal Service, and all other modern facilities to insures the Security and Comfort of passengers. All outside two-berth rooms, $2.00; Inside, $1.00. Electric Fans in inside room.

More of the NYC navyIf you look to the left side of the picture, those boxy barges lettered for the New York Central are lighters used to service ships in other parts of the harbor besides at the railroad's own dock facilities. This page gives a nice overview of the kinds of facilities in the city including a map that shows an overall picture of where they were. Containerization finally killed this kind of transloading off in the early sixties when someone finally figured out that giving the stevedores two passes on the goods wasn't exactly labor-saving.
Manhattan, 1908 on ShorpyAre you going to put up the other 10 sections of the panorama - they would be of great interest to Rail Marine modellers along with many others.
[It's on Shorpy's to-do list! - Dave]
The Flatiron's diminutive brotherwas the German-American Insurance Building, on Liberty Street.  It is now Louise Nevelson Plaza. Read all about it.
Re: Steampunk?Steampunk is fairly reasonable, but I see it more as "Metropolis" - and I don't mean Superman's version!
Steampunk CityThis image excellently represents the zenith of Steampunk USA -- look at all the plumes rising from the soaring skyscrapers, and the stalwarts of steam power on the mighty river.
A nation is coming into its own -- work is getting done.
Regard with awe the rising Manhattan silhouette –- all correct angles forming the canyons that will forever define the island, with just the right amount of added artistic flair that decorum & modesty would allow.
This is at the very moment prior to the time when noxious internal-combustion engine -- fueled by the devil's excrement -- began its century of degradation & domination.
[It was filthy, sooty coal that made the steam. The air over New York is a lot cleaner now. - Dave]
DazzlingThe former Bunker Hill in 1918.
City Investing BuildingStanding shoulder to shoulder with the Singer Tower is the picturesque City Investing Building, designed by Francis H. Kimball and built 1906-1908. This view, which I've never seen before, shows how close together they really were. Sadly both were demolished together in 1968 to make way for the US Steel Building (now known as 1 Liberty Plaza).
Had to happenThe day has finally arrived. I have been shorpyized, One look at this photo and I recognized the Singer building right away. Mother said there would be days like this.
NYC TugboatsThe New York Central boats are tugboats.  The NYC along with Jersey Central and I believe the B&0, all operated tugboats which were used to move their RR barges to and from New York City.
South Street SeaportPier 16, along with the unseen Pier 17 out of the photo on the right, is now part of the South Street Seaport, so it's likely that many of the smaller buildings on the extreme right-hand side of the photo still survive! Pier 15 bit the dust at some point, though.
All Too HumanYes. So many wonderful buildings, of which few we see here survive. This, however, to me, seems to be a view of humanity of a past time. A photo taken from the same spot today probably wouldn't give you the same feel.  
"Bizarre camouflage" on former Bunker HillThat type of ship camouflage was called a "dazzle pattern."  It was widely used in WW I and also in WW II. Dazzle camouflage was meant to confuse attackers as to the ship's course and speed. It also confounded early range finders.
OK I wanna see the whole panoramaCan someone stitch it together?
[Have at it. - Dave]
Camo aheadSteamship Bunker Hill apparently became USS Aroostook, a mine laying ship, in WWI. The  naval historical center has an interesting series of photos of her. Some of the photos show a pretty bizarre camouflage pattern, too.
S.S. Bunker HillNew England Steamship Co. was the New Haven Railroad's dominant marine operator and served the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket from New Bedford. The Bunker Hill and others were overnight steamers to New England from New York.
More Singer!Thanks for yet another great photo of the old Manhattan skyline with the Singer Building in it.
What's that building?What's that Flatiron-looking building just to the left of Rogers & Pyatt Shellac? I wonder if it's still standing.
50 storiesThat Singer building dominated the skyline back in the day. Many buildings in NYC are 50 stories and over now, but it would be still be a very interesting landmark structure if it survived today.
1908 ShellackingFor best quality shellacking … 

Stubbs Buyers Directory for the Wholesale Drug, Chemical, and Allied Trades, 1918 

 Rogers & Pyatt Shellac Co.
79 Water St., New York. 
[Suppliers of:]

 Gum Copal
 Gum Kauei
 Gum Sandarac

Horizontal vs verticalThe long white boat and its wake make a pleasing and flourishing contrast with all the vertical lines.
Where would those "New York Central" boats have been going to/coming from? Do they connect with the railroad? Were they taking passengers across the river?
Steampunk? Really?Hey I know the internet has to reuse the same old boring subculture buzzwords over and over again but stop misusing the term "steampunk."
The Industrial Revolution wasn't about form over function.
[So I suppose we could call you Anti Meme. - Dave]
For Tim DavidOk, it's not quite perfect, but HERE is the full panorama.
Aroostook ConversionBelow is a before/after image of the Bunker Hill/Aroostook refit. (Stitched from the above Shorpy post and the image at Wikipedia, flipped left-right.)
Old NYCI love drawing old NYC and I love Shorpy.
Check out my site for more.
ManhattaI bet Manahatta was given the nickname The Big Apple because of all the road apples on the streets. Come for the stunning architecture, run away gagging from the smell. 
What I'm learning from this phenomenal site are the minimal changes from Civil War customs and architecture up through the 1910s. Regardless of incredible inventions, social norms hardly shifted at all till WW1. 
Yes!I would also like to see the entire panorama. Even if bit by bit. 
Someone say Panorama?Sorry for a bit of a screw-up where the Harbor starts on the left side because Photoshop has a bit of a malfunction, but here's the full panorama. Enjoy! 9528x960

(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, DPC, NYC)

Military Family: 1865
... Pacific Railroad to Salt Lake City; served as Secretary of War, 13 March 1869–6 September 1869; died in office in Washington, D.C., on 6 ... Rawlins was U.S. Grant's closest associate during the Civil War and served as Secretary of War during Grant's presidency but only for ... 
Posted by Dave - 04/21/2009 - 10:28am -

1865. "City Point, Virginia. Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins, wife and child at Grant's headquarters." Wet plate glass negative, photographer unknown. View full size.
J.A.R.JOHN AARON RAWLINS was born in Galena, Illinois, on 13 February 1831; attended local schools followed by eighteen months at Rock River Seminary at Mount Morris, Illinois; studied law in the office of Isaac P. Stevens of Galena and was admitted to the bar in 1854; practiced law in partnership with Stevens and later with one of his own pupils, David Sheean; married his first wife, Emily Smith, 1856; was city attorney in 1857; was nominated a presidential elector on the Douglas ticket, 1860; helped organize the 45th Illinois Infantry and was designated a major in the regiment; was requested by Colonel Ulysses S. Grant of the 21st Illinois Infantry to accept a commission as lieutenant and assignment as Grant’s aide-de-camp; was appointed captain and assistant adjutant general of volunteers on Grant’s staff, 1861; lost his wife to tuberculosis; served as Grant’s principal adviser; was promoted to major in May 1862, lieutenant colonel in November 1862, and brigadier general of volunteers, August 1863; married Mary Hurlbut, 1863; was designated chief of staff of the Army, 1865; was brevetted major general of volunteers in February 1865 and of the regular army in April 1865; contracted tuberculosis; attempted to restore his health by accompanying Grenville Dodge on a survey of the proposed route of the Union Pacific Railroad to Salt Lake City; served as Secretary of War, 13 March 1869–6 September 1869; died in office in Washington, D.C., on 6 September 1869.
Hey, Mom, DadWhere's the rest of him?
WyomingIt should be noted that General Rawlins was U.S. Grant's closest associate during the Civil War and served as Secretary of War during Grant's presidency but only for a few months, dying of "consumption" in 1869. Rawlins, Wyoming, is named after him.
Press your pants?When was the crease in pant legs introduced?  This senior officer, a brigadier general, does not sport one in the mid 1860s, as did most men in dress pants. To our modern eye the men look unkempt.
Hirsute legal eagleHe may not look like much, but Rawlins rose to the rank of brevet major general and bragidier general in the regular army by the end, or just after, the Civil War.  His dates were 1831 to 1869.  
He was an attorney in civilian life, served US Grant as an adjutant general, and became Grant's first Secretary of War.
Photos of men of this era often carry with them the effect that the gentlemen pictured are elderly.  Here, in 1865, Rawlins is 33 or 34 years old.
US Grant was born in 1822. He was in his early 40s when he assumed the command of the Army of the Potomac.
To my eye, Robert E. Lee, who looks in his photos to have been in his 60s or 70s during the Civil War, was born in in 1807.  He was really just in his 50s when he was commanding the Army of Northern Virginia.  Lee was an age peer of President Lincoln (1809-1865), who was only 56 when he was assassinated.  But Lincoln always appeared much older, in my view.
Must be the beards.
Rank has its privilegesIf this is the General's quarters, can you imagine the enlisted men's?
What's that thing What's that thing that looks bolted on to the right of the porch, by the chair?
[A boot scraper. - Dave]
Ubiquitous Boot ScraperThat boot scraper was the first thing I noticed!  I can't help but think about the living conditions in what looks like a rough hut for a brig gen and his family.  And yet, there is a boot scraper!  Amazing.  I wonder if just the officers got them and was that one of the distinctions between their quarters and the quarters of the enlisted men -- to maintain some bit of genteel civility by scraping one's boots?
General RawlinsThe General was not a combat soldier but served as the principal trusted adviser to Grant. He was present when Lincoln appointed Grant command of the Army of the Potomac.
SmokerI do believe that is Grant himself around the corner puffing a cigar. He did tend to sit with legs crossed.Those cigars ended up killing him.
(The Gallery, Civil War)

Lunch Among the Ruins: 1862
Bull Run, Virginia, winter 1862-63. "Ruins of railroad bridge at Blackburn's Ford." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of the war, Second Battle of Bull Run (Battle of Second Manassas). Wet plate glass ... with a dam across the river. (The Gallery, Civil War) ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/02/2012 - 1:38pm -

Bull Run, Virginia, winter 1862-63. "Ruins of railroad bridge at Blackburn's Ford." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of the war, Second Battle of Bull Run (Battle of Second Manassas). Wet plate glass negative. View full size.
150 Years agoI wonder if, 150 years from now, people will look back on our world and think it to be so primitive. 
Maybe the two fellows in the photo had the same thought?
RR Bridge?Somebody want to make that read as a "railroad bridge" for me, or have I missed something? I do realize that's the original caption, but they've been wrong before. Then again, so have I.
[Do you not see the bridge? Or the rails? - Dave]
AnachronismSeems kinda early for a Ford dealership.
After lunchWell, after lunch was over, the men got down to brass tacks and rebuilt the durn thing.
Bindlestiffs!In the classic hobo style.  Good thing they packed the fancy picnic basket, it'll be a while before a train comes along.  Speaking of which, look at those tiny rails, and instead of ties, apparently they were nailed to planks, probably to facilitate use by wagons and pedestrians as well as trains.
Always time for lunchHunger happens, man. No matter the time or place. Fantastic photo. It might be fun to colorize this one. 
Downright RomanticBottle of wine, picnic basket, babbling brook.
[Whiskey, according to the label. - Dave]
A hunk of cornbread, a bottle of hooch... and thou.
BreadcamI like the way that, in an impressive feat of technological prescience, the gent on the left has chewed his bread into the shape of a folding camera.
More photosAs we can see in Beachgirl's photo below, Federal troops rebuilt the bridge as a pontoon span. Some more pics by Mathew Brady here, both of the rail ford and the remains of a stone bridge.
[Interesting, although I'm not sure if any of those photos depict the location shown in the picnic photo. - Dave]
Manet, anyone?Without knowing the context, one could see this view as an unwitting adaptation of Édouard Manet’s "Déjeuner sur l’herbe" (Lunch on the Grass), painted in the very same year - 1862-1863 - minus the naked ladies, of course. 
Centreville diningMidway between the world famous Yorkshire Diner and the now defunct Payne's Diner.
Bridge does look flimsyTrains were a lot lighter back then, but still probably at least as heavy as your typical 18-wheeler today. They also moved more slowly. Still, even with that taken into account, this bridge would probably not meet today's engineering standards.
The Picnic Is OverFrom the group of Brady pics mentioned earlier, same spot (White Oak Swamp) minus the picnic: Clicky here.
Misidentified Brady photosSeveral of Brady's Bull Run photos were misidentified. The lunch photo is of the ruins of the bridge that carried the track of the Confederate spur railroad from Manassas to Centreville. It crossed Bull run above Mitchell's ford, not Blackburn's. The pontoon bridge above crosses a river between Warrenton and Culpepper not far from Rt 29. There are several other photos of this bridge, including one from downstream with a dam across the river.  
(The Gallery, Civil War)

Prisoners of War: 1864
... poor rations most Confederates had in the last year of the war, so the Union rations must have been a relief. OTOH, they are may be en ... least you weren't getting shot at," may want to read up on Civil War prison camps. They were pretty horrific on both sides, and at Rock ... 
Posted by Dave - 11/05/2008 - 10:08pm -

1864. "Chattanooga, Tenn. Confederate prisoners at railroad depot waiting to be sent north." Wet plate glass negative, photographer unknown. View full size.
Slim soldiersI noticed how thin all the soldiers are and also the woman and two children by the group of men on the tracks. I really enjoyed browsing over this picture since it showed so much detail.  
Train CarCheck out the train car that is labeled "Hospital Car."  I wonder what the interior looked like.
Officers and RationsBy their uniforms a number of these are officers. Their slimness derives from the poor rations most Confederates had in the last year of the war, so the Union rations must have been a relief. OTOH, they are may be en route to Block Island prison  on the Great Lakes, which  got miserably cold and dank in the winters.
RationsYes, the rations were lacking (I use that loosely) at that time of the War. I seem to recall a Confederate memoir by Sam Watkins recalling that the cavalry was eating the corn out of the feed that they were giving their horses.
Nice shot of Lookout Mountain in the background.
PrisonersSure they're skinny, so are their guards. But what surprised me is that most of them looked relaxed and kind of happy!
And that guy on the right, is he talking on his cellphone (above the tophat guy) (only kidding!)
Hospital TrainGiven the large opening in the center and lack of windows, this is a converted boxcar.  There were also purpose-built Hospital Cars that more closely resembled passenger coaches. In both cases, they were specially equipped for stretcher cases, however the boxcar's large center door opening would facilitate moving wounded in and out of the car. Period illustrations show a stove for heating, and what appears to be a double boiler for heating water or perhaps cooking at the opposite end of the coaches. As the boxcar shown here has two smokejacks on the roof, it appears it was similarly equipped. 
For some period artist's sketches and information on the cars, including an interior sketch circa 1864, click here.

RelaxedYeah, I'll bet they are relaxed!!  After being in battle off and on for a couple of years, they know they will have it better in a Union prison camp than in the Confederate Army.  Sure, the prison camps weren't a Hilton Hotel but at least you weren't getting shot at and shelled all the time.
Family HistoryOne of my relatives was captured in the fighting around Chattanooga near the end of 1863, probably several weeks before this picture was taken. He ended up at Rock Island, Illinois, from December 1863 to June 1865. 
The commenter who wrote, "the prison camps weren't a Hilton Hotel but at least you weren't getting shot at," may want to read up on Civil War prison camps. They were pretty horrific on both sides, and at Rock Island specifically, the prisoners had several months during which the guards on the wall made a habit of shooting prisoners at the smallest pretense or, whenever bored, firing off a random shot into the compound.
I certainly don't want to get into a discussion of which side's prison camps were "worse," because they were all pretty damn awful. It was bad, bad stuff, and don't think there were many prisoners on either side who would not gladly return to their regiments if they could.
All Union soldiersAll these men are Union troops. The overcoats that look gray are light blue. The photo is very remarkable in that it shows many different uniform styles and headgear.
(The Gallery, Civil War, Railroads)

High Bridge: 1865
... From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war, the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865. Wet collodion glass plate ... half of stereograph pair, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; from Civil War photographs compiled by Hirst Milhollen and Donald Mugridge. View ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/05/2012 - 4:38pm -

April 1865. "Farmville, Virginia, vicinity. High bridge of the South Side Railroad across the Appomattox." From photographs of the main Eastern theater of war, the siege of Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865. Wet collodion glass plate negative, left half of stereograph pair, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; from Civil War photographs compiled by Hirst Milhollen and Donald Mugridge. View full size.
Farmville High BridgeI went to Longwood College in Farmvillle and I am very familiar with this bridge. It is still in use by the railway companies. Over the years, many people have lost their lives from being on the bridge when the trains come people suggest it is haunted!
Battle of High BridgeAlso the site of a furious two-day endgame pitched battle (April 6 & 7, 1865) for control of this bridge in which it was significantly damaged by fire. This engagement occurred during Lee's retreat to Appomattox Station. Considered a tactical draw the Confederate Army nonetheless captured 800 Union troops. By April 9 the formal surrender had been signed at Appomattox Court House.
Iris EffectThe iris effect makes it resemble a silent film scene, maybe a silent film about the Civil War.
High BridgeI was curious as to how high this bridge is (answer: 160 feet) so did a little searching and found a Wikipedia article on this bridge.  Thought I'd post that link here in case anyone's interested.
Interesting to me about this photo: further out on the bridge, there appears to be a work crew, perhaps.  Looks like they have a handcar and possibly tools of some sort alongside the tracks.  I wonder if the gentleman in the foreground, who is quite nicely dressed, is their boss?  Or if he just happened to be standing there?  He looks a little out of place to me.
High Bridge - 1865I am a Farmville native, born & raised there, and now living in Pennsylvania.  I did a high school paper on the very location in the photograph, and took some photos (sadly which were lost over the course of time, and because of moving several times since then).  I added the Shorpy Historical Photos blog to my Google reader awhile back because I am a history buff, and I love photos of the past so much...NEVER thought I would see a photo of a location from my old hometown show up here...glad to see people recognizing the historical importance of rural Virginia, as it was a major staging ground for many of the battles and events that ultimately shaped the early foundations of the United States.  Thanks for sharing this picture with us, and I look forward to every new post here (specifically been digging on the Krazy Kat Club series...sad to see you've reached the bottom of the barrel on that) well as generally ALL the content here. Kudos for a great site that presents the Art which accompanies the historical events we read about, but feel somehow disconnected from...the photos make the stories more real and accessible. After all, a picture INDEED is worth a thousand words!
Many thanks,
High Bridge.This is one of those pictures that remind me of home and all the great people in what used to be a small town. God bless us each and every one.
High Bridge nowThe Norfolk Southern bean-counters pulled the rails out of Farmville and off High Bridge in 2004, on the 150th anniversary of its construction. The roadbed is being made into a Rails-to-Trails route, going across the steel bridge of 1914, which succeeded this one.
Notice the dip in  the track where the track leaves the abutment. O'Sullivan also took a side view in which you can see the sag in the first span.
Battle of High Bridge VeteranIt was great seeing this beautiful shot of High Bridge and the surrounding countryside. I am posting a related tintype along with this comment. It is a photograph of my great-great-grandfather Private Richard Cunningham, a member of Company "I", 1st Battalion, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. He took part in the Cavalry Battle of High Bridge, 6 April 1865, in an effort to cut off Lee's retreat. His regiment took part in the savage, hand-to-hand combat that ensued. According to his own account, he was "the only one (of his regiment) to have escaped capture on the occasion of the High Bridge affair."
An Occurrence at Owl Creek BridgeThat was what first came to my mind when I saw this photo.
I saw the story first on the original (and still the best IMO) Twilight Zone. I was so impressed by it that I searched until I found the story in a book.
Now I have it as an audio book also.
Thanks for your wonderful site.
(The Gallery, Civil War, Railroads, Timothy O'Sullivan)

Ways of Going: 1865
... View full size. Last Push You can really feel the war coming to an end in this picture. All the stops were pulled out with this ... laid around that bluff next to the river as seen in one civil war photograph. This was an important Union military center with trains ... 
Posted by Dave - 08/09/2012 - 5:34pm -

Circa 1865. "City Point, Virginia. Railroad yard and transports." Wet plate glass negative, half of stereograph pair. Studio of Mathew Brady. View full size.
Last PushYou can really feel the war coming to an end in this picture. All the stops were pulled out with this drive. Great picture. Is now my desktop background.
Balloon StacksThose funnel-shaped smokestacks (aka "balloon stacks") were designed to keep sparks from escaping, esp. from wood-fired locomotives of that era.
Great photo!
Mystery ObjectI wondered if anyone might know what this is? It somewhat resembles a lathe. Possibly some kind of woodworking equipment, as there seems to be a large saw blade next to one of the buildings and perhaps a pile of unfinished railroad ties near there as well.

BrokenAt first I thought there was graffiti on the boxcar in the foreground, but on close-up it reads "Broken."
A lot to seeI'm always amazed at the detail in these photos you post.  From the word "Broken" chalked on the rail car to the piles of wheels on the dock. And with a bit of exposure time, we can see the moving masts of a ship at dock.
Locomotive smokestacks  Once again, I'm sent to wondering why the locomotives of that era had those huge, funnel shaped smokestacks.  Seems like a stovepipe type would eject smoke just as well, or am I missing something by way of aerodynamics?
  That said, another magnificent moment frozen in time.
ShipsGreat depth of focus (if that's the correct term -- I mean you can clearly see details in the far distance).  I'm fascinated by the ships.  Looks like your standard schooner docked at the right.  The inboard ship on the left appears to be a three-masted schooner.  The outboard one looks like a brigantine -- could it be a type of Baltimore Clipper?  It looks like it has steam power too.
Great photographTechnically this is a great photograph; historically it is magnificent. You can just feel the moment and can also appreciate the sheer strength and efficiency of the (relatively) young United States.
Hurry Up and WaitThere is a lot of activity in this photo.  Whether it is efficient activity or not is impossible to judge.
Second Look at ShipsEast Coast three masted schooners were called "tern schooners."
The vessel moored outboard of "our" tern schooner is technically a half brig or hermaphrodite brig, although today it could be called a brigantine.  In the 19th C, brigantines had upper, square sails on their mainmasts in addition to their gaff mainsail.  (That rig is no longer seen today even for yachts or training ships.)  
The smokestack immediately aft of its mainmast can't possibly belong to this ship, because it would obstruct the swing of the main boom, as well as presenting a fire hazard to the mainsail.  It's about the right size to belong to a steam tug moored on the outboard side of the half brig. 
Transition of technologiesRemarkable scene of a busy waterfront showing the transition of wind-powered clippers to steam-powered ships, of mule trains to locomotion.  i love the stack of wagon wheels on the dock. Another great Shorpy photo.
Interesting place to visitYou can still walk along one area where the original track was laid around that bluff next to the river as seen in one civil war photograph. This was an important Union military center with trains departing this location for the front on a daily basis. 
The rail transportation system was so efficient at this location that fresh baked bread was still hot when it arrived for the soldiers at the front. 
General Grant had his command post not very far from here on top of the bluff.  
Mopping UpOn the side of the boxcar in the foreground, next to its door on which "BROKEN" is scrawled, hangs a mop!  Anyone have an idea of the mop's purpose?
Locomotive SmokestacksThere is a lot about those smokestacks that a photograph will not show.  Inside there is a cast iron deflector that diverts the exhaust blast downwards and at the top is a heavy wire mesh screen.  Coal burning locos used a straight stack as they did not create sparks to amount to anything, but the wood burners needed something to keep them from setting the scenery on fire. There were one or two cleanout doors near the bottom of the stack to allow for removal of the settled cinders.  The locomotives in the photo are all of "American Standard" design and had four-wheel trucks up front to guide the four main drive wheels.  For those in the know, the wheel arrangement was called 4-4-0.
(The Gallery, Boats & Bridges, Civil War, Railroads)

War and Peace: 1865
... days of parading and festivities marked the end of the Civil War. I've seen a picture of the official reviewing stand with President ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/17/2012 - 10:14pm -

May 1865. "Another artillery unit passing on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Treasury." Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady. View full size.
Victory ParadeThis is the victory parade of the Union Army. Three days of parading and festivities marked the end of the Civil War. I've seen a picture of the official reviewing stand with President Johnson, General Grant, and other notables. The stand was decorated with the names of battles.
It's so strangeto think my great-great grandpa could be in that crowd.  I would love to find a picture of him during that time.
The RailsThose two sets of rails we see in the street...would some Shorpy history expert be able to say what ran on them? And it appears the rails themselves have an unusual design compared to a common railroad track. An no apparent rail ties underneath would indicate whatever rolled on those tracks couldn't have been too heavy.
[Those are streetcar tracks. - Dave]

Glass PlatesDoes anyone know anything about developing glass plate negatives?
ApugYou can likely find more information than you ever thought possible at
That's the Analog Photography Users Group and there are a lot of people doing "old school" photography.
AhaStreetcars. Thanks for the info. Your knowledge is so helpful in understanding the contents of these amazing photos. 
Glass Plate PhotographyPhotos of this era are all "wet plate", a lengthy process in which the plate is coated with a chemical called a colloid, then placed in a light-proof holder for use in the camera.  After exposure it must be developed before drying.  Lots of info online.  Sounds like a fascinating craft for someone with time and an interest in exacting hobbies.  After around 1880 "dry plate" came in (thanks partly to George Eastman) and you could buy your plates ready- made and develop at your leisure.  
(The Gallery, Civil War, D.C., Horses, Mathew Brady, Streetcars)

None Shall Pass: 1864
... some 23 photographers in his project to photograph the Civil War. He did some photography himself (1st Bull Run, Fredericksburg ... ), but a ... 
Posted by Dave - 10/13/2020 - 4:43pm -

1864. "Federal cavalry guarding the Orange & Alexandria R.R. near Union Mills, Virginia." Wet plate glass negative by Mathew Brady -- National Archives. View full size.
Steeled for battleLooks like they're ready for a swordfight and hand-to-hand combat since there's nary a gun in sight!
SidearmedThere is one firearm, the pistol carried by the officer (who looks like a young Dustin Hoffman). 
Napoleon complexThe officer holding the saber seems to have a mild case of the Bonaparte hand-in-jacket affectation. 
All that's missing is a banjo and fiddleThis would make a great album cover for a bluegrass group.
ObscurityThe poor fellows in back didn't get much exposure. 
Thanks GodFor the backup on the bridge behind. I almost missed it.
Roughing ItThis looks like the epitome of misery.
Where are we?Is there any way to pinpoint this location??
Entering "Union Mills, Virginia" into Google Maps brings you to a very, very rural area near Lake Monticello, and Charlottesville is more than just a few miles away. I guess nothing, not even a single piece, remains of these structures in the background???
Twilight Zone?This immediately brought to mind Robert Enrico's film of Bierce's "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" that was broadcast on the original Twilight Zone.
HelloAt first I did not think that this photo was that old since the guy in the middle was giving us a thumbs up. I didn't realized he was hiding this fingers. Maybe the first thumbs up ever.
Different Union MillsThe Orange & Alexandria RR never got anywhere near the Union Mills that Google shows us now.
This Union Mills was on Bull Run, close to Manassas Junction, which makes more sense given the apparent strategic importance evidenced by all the guards.
It does show up on some old railroad maps, such as this one from the Library of Congress:
Still no joy in terms of any surviving remnants however.
When Union Mills stood prominent
Mathew Brady and "company"Mathew Brady employed some 23 photographers in his project to photograph the Civil War. He did some photography himself (1st Bull Run, Fredericksburg ... ), but a large portion of the project was shot by others. The images were released by Brady's studio and as a result were very frequently credited to Brady himself rather than the photographer who actually shot the images. In recent years, many of the images that were originally credited to Brady have been re-attributed to the actual photographer.
That you A.J.?While trying to google the current location, I came across a couple of sites that attribute the photo to A. J. Russell (formerly to Matthew Brady.) For example:
[Mathew. Not "Matthew." - Dave]
StockadeThe roofless building rear left looks like a classic “army fort” building -- log construction and second story overhang.
(The Gallery, Civil War, Mathew Brady, Railroads)

Detroit Opera House: 1904
... was formed in May 1906 by Ohio native Henry M. Wright (a Civil War veteran as a member of Co. B, 85th Ohio Volunteers) and John Kay, who was ... 
Posted by Dave - 07/19/2012 - 10:23pm -

The Detroit Opera House circa 1904, starring an electric runabout out front. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.
Detroit Conservatory MusicWhat, they were too cheap to spring for an "of"?
Digital sign againI've noticed that each time we've seen one of those "digital" signs it's been on or in front of a large theater, opera house or concert hall, the type of venue you'd expect the upper classes, rather than the hoi-polloi, to frequent. My speculation: it's something used to signal carriages for their ritzy patrons. Below: this one compared to ones at Philadelphia's Nixon Theatre and Academy of Music.
Update: Thanks to TomHe for confirming my speculation.
High Bridge?Look in the window of the Pennsylvania Lines shop.  Is the picture on the easel that of the High Bridge of recent memory?
[Unfortunately, no. - tterrace]
Videochas PicThat's Horseshoe Curve, near Altoona, PA
Makes My Heart SingWhat a lovely building! I was born in the wrong era. I come to Shorpy everyday and I'm never disappointed with the photos here. I would hope this building is still standing. I absolutely love the honeycomb glass transom at the entrance door. I wish buildings of today had the details of old world craftsmanship. Sigh.
[Demolished 1966. - tterrace]
What is that thang?Sharp eyes as usual from tterrace, but I can't make out just how this configuration of three identical sets of light-bulb "dots" could be lit to form letters or numbers. The mysterious device's Academy of Music installation, at right, appears to include some kind of identifying signage on the end of the clapboard base beneath it. Dave, is your highest-res tiff file of this photo sufficiently clear to read that information?
[Not clear enough on the full LOC tiff, unfortunately. - tterrace]
Pennsylvania LinesThe Pennsylvania Railroad was a late arrival in Detroit, not gaining a direct entrance there until 1922, and then only by trackage rights on the Ann Arbor, Pere Marquette  and Wabash Railroads. The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was chartered in 1854 to build a line from Fort Wayne to the Straits of Mackinaw through Grand Rapids. It became part of the Pennsylvania Lines in 1869. It too had no direct connection to Detroit, relying on a connection with the Wabash in Ft. Wayne to get to the Motor City.
Identify car?Great picture! Can anyone identify that nifty little car?
The proverbial needleConcerning identifying the automobile, unless it was built by a select few makers, I doubt it can be positively identified.  
During this period there were around a thousand automobile manufacturers in America alone.  What we do know is that it's an early brass era runabout with tiller steering, semi-eliptical leaf springs at each corner, and wooden spoked wheels.  That should narrow it down to about 50 manufacturers, some of which existed for only a few years.
Re: The proverbial needleI think I have identified the car.  It's an AJAX ELECTRIC. I have attached a photo from an advertisement from 1903, for visual comparison.
[Here they are together. Among other differences, note the absence of front leaf springs. - tterrace]
Wright & KayThe jewelry firm of Wright & Kay (big sign atop building) was formed in May 1906 by Ohio native Henry M. Wright (a Civil War veteran as a member of Co. B, 85th Ohio Volunteers) and John Kay, who was born in Scotland. They were jewelers, opticians, importers and dealers in watches, clocks, diamonds, marble statuary, silver and plated ware and fine stationery, and they manufactured watches and other products under their own name. Recently some Wright, Kay & Company watches were auctioned at Christie's.  
About that haystackMy first thought when I looked at the full-size image was Studebaker. After further research the answer will have to be no, they were building a Runabout with very similar bodywork and proportions in that era but it had major mechanical differences from this machine.
As BradL said, this was a time when literally hundreds of companies ranging from blacksmiths, to buggy shops, to established manufacturers of sewing machines and other mechanical equipment, all took a fling at the automobile. 
MysterymobileI'm almost certain it's a Waverly Runabout, built in Indianapolis. I have a current-day photo but it's somebody's property. Note its steering is via a front tiller whereas the Studebaker has its tiller on the side.  
Re: Digital sign againA carriage call indeed. Picture below shows numbers lit.
WaverleyDon Struke has it, I found a vintage Waverley advertisement that certainly seems to match the mystery car closely.
HorsesCalm and unaware that they were about to be unemployed in very short time.
(The Gallery, Cars, Trucks, Buses, Detroit Photos, DPC, Performing Arts)
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