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February 17, 2013

Photos of American Cities Before the 1910s

A photographic journey through American cities from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Chattanooga, Tenn. in time of war. Soldiers' tents and supply wagons beside the city building. 1864. Mathew Brady collection

The ruins of Mills House and nearby buildings, Charleston, S.C. A shell-damaged carriage and the remains of a brick chimney in the foreground. 1865. Photograph by George N. Barnard.

Nashville, Tenn., from the statehouse, 1864. Photograph by George N. Barnard. Mathew Brady collection. The statehouse portico guarded by artillery in the foreground

Shells of the buildings of Richmond, Va., silhouetted against a dark sky after the destruction by Confederates, 1865. Mathew Brady collection.

Panorama of Helena, Mont., in 1870. Photograph by William H. Jackson.

The weatherbeaten wharves between Piety and Desire Streets, New Orleans, La., August 1881. A group of men seated on the wharves, store-lined street in the background.

Store-lined street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1869. Photograph by William H. Jackson.

Bearded Irish clam diggers and a matronly companion on a wharf in Boston, 1882.

Oyster fleet in Baltimore Harbor, Md., ca. 1885. Ships' masts dominate the foreground; buildings, horse-drawn wagons, and carts visible through them.

Smartly dressed couple seated on an 1886-model bicycle for two. The South Portico of the White House, Washington, D.C., in the background.

A military parade down the main street of Phoenix, Ariz., ca. 1888

Panorama of Portland, Oreg., in 1890. Mount Hood in the background

Man with a derby hat stands atop a mound of oyster shells outside the C. H. Pearson & Company oyster cannery, Baltimore. Workers bring wheel- barrows of shells from the factory to the heap. ca. 1890

'Terminal,' by Alfred Steiglitz, 1892. Original lantern slide in the International Museum of Photography, New York

Boston's fisherman's wharf jammed with merchants and dock workers, ca. 1890

Horse-drawn wagons and carriages, an electric trolley car, and pedestrians congest a cobblestone Philadelphia street in 1897

Two officials of the New York City Tenement House Department inspect a cluttered basement living room, ca. 1900

Easter morning, 1900. New York City's Fifth Avenue bustling with horse-drawn traffic and two motor cars

Residents in front of a dilapidated frame house in Kansas City, ca. 1900

Children play ball in the street in front of typical housing with five rooms per family for $10 to $12 per month. San Francisco, ca. 1900

Shoppers at the outdoor food market, 7th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.. Washington, D.C. View looking up 7th Street, ca. 1900

Airshaft of a dumbbell tenement, New York City, taken from the roof, ca. 1900

The Eighth Avenue trolley, New York City, sharing the street with horse-drawn produce wagon and an open automobile. Downtown, looking north. 1904

Hundreds of wooden barrels covering the docks at the resin yards, Savannah, Ga., 1903

The ruins of San Francisco, still smoldering after the 1906 earthquake, taken from the tower of the Union Ferry Building. Market Street between Sacramento and Third Streets

Three gentlemen pass the time on a park bench in San Jacinto Plaza, El Paso, Tex., 1906

Elegantly dressed New Yorkers on Fifth Avenue, Easter morning, 1906

Treasury Department official, surrounded by packages of newly minted currency, counting and wrapping dollar bills. Washington, D.C., 1907

The Saint Louis, Mo., waterfront crowded with steamboats at the start of President William H. Taft's inspection trip down the Mississippi River, Oct. 1909

Pedestrians on the upper deck promenade of Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, ca. 1910

(Courtesy of the National Archives)


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