Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


It's all in the details.
October 26, 2012 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Come and sit for a while. An amazing photo from shorpy.com. Tomorrow, after you've absorbed all the details from this image, browse through the rest of the images at shorpy.com. We'll send someone to drag you back out of the time warp worm hole in a few days.
posted by HuronBob (43 comments total) 98 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow - this looks like some sort of animatronic scene you'd roll past on a Disney ride.
posted by davebush at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Booze, smokes and sugar. Where's Bogart?
posted by Mblue at 9:21 PM on October 26, 2012


It would be easy to continue to post some of the fantastic images... I may be up all night conjuring the stories behind these.
posted by HuronBob at 9:26 PM on October 26, 2012


In this great theater shot, there's a circus diorama above the marquee. There are lots of fake animals...but is that an actual Scottie terrier at the extreme left?

This blog is a major time sink. Awesome.
posted by HeroZero at 9:26 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gotta love those old-timey fuel pumps mere inches away from the wooden structure.

And the lit cigarette.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 PM on October 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


What makes this photo work is the man in overalls whose face is every-so-slightly blurred. It makes the whole thing come to life. Otherwise it could be posed.

Signs like that Pop Kola make you realize just how little the history you know is the history that was. It's interesting that googling pop kola brings up as the first hit a different shot from the same exact place and time: http://www.shorpy.com/node/9063.
posted by Fnarf at 10:01 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Washington policeman Bill Norton measuring the distance between knee and suit at the Tidal Basin bathing beach after Col. Sherrill, Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds, issued an order that suits not be over six inches above the knee.

The license plate is almost as large as her automobile, but Miss Mary Bay likes her car because it is easy to park. Miss Bay is shown braving the traffic of Washington.

December 1937, the Alamo movie theater in Washington, D.C.
posted by Challahtronix at 10:03 PM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The dorothealange tag is conspicuously missing here.
posted by wreckingball at 10:09 PM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd forgotten about Shorpy.
Oh, yes. What a time sink!

Thanks for the reminder--now bookmarked.

(I'll bet there was plenty of bullshittin' and storyin' on done on that porch!)
posted by BlueHorse at 10:10 PM on October 26, 2012


Apparently, that tinderbox somehow did not burn down.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:24 PM on October 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's amazing to think that this was once ordinary life. I wonder how many people saw the photographers taking the pics and thought, "What's that idiot doing taking a picture? There nothing to see here!"

Amazing site that I've bookmarked. Thanks for the post.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:24 PM on October 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


OMG, that is a lot of cigarettes near questionably-contained combustible fuels stored on the wooden porch of a wooden building. And not an ash tray in sight. And bonus scary-looking electrical wiring.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:24 PM on October 26, 2012


Wow, how is it that shorpy.com hasn't appeared on the blue before? I used it in its infancy to track down the picture of a former girlfriend's grandmother, taken after some significant flood on the Ohio at Cincinnati. They were of approximately the same ages when the picture was taken and the similarity was uncanny. And then I got lost looking at pictures for three days and have been careful since then not to spend more than a couple hours at a time on that site. Great post, HuronBob.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:24 PM on October 26, 2012


Wow, how is it that shorpy.com hasn't appeared on the blue before?

It has.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:27 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Washington policeman Bill Norton measuring the distance between knee and suit at the Tidal Basin bathing beach after Col. Sherrill, Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds, issued an order that suits not be over six inches above the knee.

The Washington Monument in the background thrusting proudly into the sky is what makes this the best photograph ever.
posted by mcmile at 10:31 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shorpy allows users to submit photos; this guy's stuff, though not numerous, is really good. Look for "rizzman" as the author and click on the post title. I particularly like this and this.
posted by maxwelton at 11:06 PM on October 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty girls.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:15 PM on October 26, 2012


@TheophileEscargot, you bastard. I have things to do, and now I will never do them.
posted by Fnarf at 11:27 PM on October 26, 2012


Amazing.
posted by jokeefe at 11:35 PM on October 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


A photograph created for colorization.
posted by quazichimp at 12:02 AM on October 27, 2012


December 1937, the Alamo movie theater in Washington, D.C.

Love that "Sheets 7¢" sign
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:13 AM on October 27, 2012


In this great theater shot, there's a circus diorama above the marquee. There are lots of fake animals...but is that an actual Scottie terrier at the extreme left?

I definitely see Steiff plush toys - here is the camel in the center. I think this is your Scottie HeroZero - a little worse for wear. Looks lke a curly darker color mohair on one bear, and a lighter shorter coat on the one facing him. Here's a similar elephant, maybe sewn from the same pattern but wearing a blanket and some tack. Here's a similar pig but with wooden wheels. Steiff made lots of toys in a range of sizes, they might have gone with iron spoke wheels for the larger versions. Among the plush animals and arranged below them I see several Schoenhut Humpty Dumpty Circus figures, clowns and acrobats in the first ring, definitely ringmaster and elephants in the center, lady rider, horse etc in the third ring, and various animals in cages below: bear, poodle, lion, zebu, buffalo, cow, kangaroo? donkey? and hippo. It's great to see them all brand-new. I wonder what's that lovely wooden horse on the far right.

oh I think my empathy for guys who collect action figures just switched on
posted by Lou Stuells at 12:30 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't like the updated photo. It lacks the sense of being a social center. But I'm old enough that one of my warmest memories is sitting on the sun-warmed wooden steps of the town feed-and-grain, which was owned by my grandparent's neighbor. It's a beautiful memory which includes the aroma of creosote and hay dust.
posted by Goofyy at 12:31 AM on October 27, 2012


Yep, Sys Rq is right, obviously, Shorpy has been linked to a few times, with an actual post about it back in 2007. I figured most of you weren't born (in a Mefitite way) yet back then and it was worth pointing at it again.
posted by HuronBob at 4:10 AM on October 27, 2012


Check out who owns the hardware company in Indianapolis.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:45 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice find, leotrotsky
posted by HuronBob at 4:53 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this shot of a steel mill neighborhood in my city from 1907; there's no way to tell what time of day it was shot, could be midnight or noon, the city looked the same back then.
posted by octothorpe at 6:30 AM on October 27, 2012


When constructing visual reference for a small town in the 40s Shorpy was INDESCRIBABLY VALUABLE.
posted by The Whelk at 6:53 AM on October 27, 2012


This is the best picture of a women's college club I've seen. Can't count the hours spent on Shorpy.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 7:26 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


"This is the best picture of a women's college club I've seen"

The girl in the middle, you know, the one without a gun....she's about to be told she will be given a 5 minute head start....
posted by HuronBob at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ, I used to live across the street from this building.

That picture was taken in the middle of 3rd Avenue looking west. To the right, on the north side of 61st Street, is now a Trump apartment building.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:39 AM on October 27, 2012


Dave from Shorpy is also the guy behind the now-on-permanent-hiatus Plan59.com, my absolute favorite vintage ad site. Many of them are available for sale as art prints.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:39 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I adore Shorpy. I use images from it a lot in presentations for museum audiences. And people always come up afterward and ask 'where did you get that great photo?'

I've also loved PLan59 for a long time, and had not idea they were the same site. Plan59 had another name before it changed formats - what was it? They have amazing hi-res illustration art from ads.

Found one from my native lands - a beach in Long Branch NJ where we used to go.
posted by Miko at 10:34 AM on October 27, 2012


The Indianapolis panorama has a sign that reads "Vonnegut Hardware Co." That company was founded by local hero Kurt Vonnegut's grandfather.
posted by pmdboi at 11:50 AM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those interested, I found the original "country store" photo at the Library of Congress. Couldn't see a link on Shorpy.
posted by Usher at 11:59 AM on October 27, 2012


1921 Hipster Alert
posted by not_on_display at 1:28 PM on October 27, 2012


Loved the Indy photo. Many of the buildings look similar today. I climbed that monument, too!
posted by Miko at 7:51 PM on October 27, 2012


A photograph created for colorization.

Speaking of which....
posted by arm's-length at 8:01 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the story with the colorization? It's vivid, but I like it less. The facial expressions have changed a lot, which gives me an unsettling feeling.

There's another colorized image in the thread below in which the faces stay the same. Interesting.
posted by Miko at 8:08 PM on October 27, 2012


Goddam links. Goddam Google.

I could not help myself. I had to Google Hildy Yen, and find out about that airplane. That led to 19th Century China, and the amazing and heartbreaking story of the last Empress. Then it was supper time, and I hadn't been anywhere near my story files.

Still haven't been through all the pages on the shorpy site yet. There's that tantalizing picture of the Seeger family at an auto camp.

Goddam Google.

Okay, I don't say I wasn't warned. I'm just saying....
posted by mule98J at 10:45 AM on October 28, 2012


I know it's pretty trite to say "wow, that Dorothea Lange photo is affecting" but seventy-six years down the line I hope hope hope that everything worked out OK for the family in "Traveling Light."
posted by quartzcity at 11:44 AM on October 28, 2012


Plan59 had another name before it changed formats - what was it?

Ephemera Now.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:36 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, another image at the same location.
posted by HuronBob at 8:56 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Hacking the President’s DNA....  |  In the spirit of the Nobel sea... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments