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July 2, 2022

40 Vintage Photos Show Life of the Midwest in the Early 20th Century

The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the Midwest or the American Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as “Region 2”). It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It is between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to the north and the Southern United States to the south.

The Midwest consists of 12 states in the north central United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The region generally lies on the broad Interior Plain between the states occupying the Appalachian Mountain range and the states occupying the Rocky Mountain range. Major rivers in the region include, from east to west, the Ohio River, the Upper Mississippi River, and the Missouri River.

Chicago is the most populous city in the American Midwest and the third most populous in the United States. Other large Midwestern cities include (in order by population) Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Wichita, Cleveland, St. Paul, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. Large Midwestern metropolitan areas include Metro Detroit, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Greater St. Louis, Greater Cincinnati, the Kansas City metro area, the Columbus metro area, and Greater Cleveland.

Most of these photos from William Creswell supposedly date from around 1913 and originate in the Midwest. At least one clue places these photos in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.

1906 Ford, Model N, Roadster

Family in a 1910 Mitchell, possibly in Connecticut

A girl playing with a dog, circa 1913

A group of women and children in front of a house, circa 1913

A group of women in a grove of trees, circa 1913

A man with a handlebar mustache, circa 1913

Boys playing in front of a house, circa 1913

Cattle drive, circa 1913

Couple on loveseat, circa 1913

Couple on rubble pile, circa 1913

Family on lawn, circa 1913

Family posing with car, possibly in Spokane, Washington, circa 1913

Family portrait, circa 1913

Girl having a tea party, circa 1913

Girl with curls, circa 1913

Grandmother in a mourning dress, circa 1913

Group in front of house, circa 1913

Group in front of school, circa 1913

Group of students and teacher posing in front of schoolhouse, circa 1913

Hikers on “Little Baldy” near Spokane, Washington, April 6, 1913. The man on the left is holding a string in his hand that leads back to the camera

Horse and rider, circa 1913

House in snow, address is 411, possibly in Minneapolis, circa 1913

Ladies and cattle, circa 1913

Men sitting on a shore, circa 1913

Mother and daughter in apple grove, circa 1913

Small group on porch, circa 1913

Three generations of family, circa 1913.

Three generations of family, circa 1913

Three ladies, circa 1913

Two women on a porch, circa 1913

Two young boys in suits, circa 1913

Unfinished house, circa 1913

Unidentified engine from the New York City & Hudson River Railroad

Woman in a chair holding a baby, circa 1913

Woman in front of a house, circa 1913

Woman with horse, circa 1913

Women and children in front of a house, circa 1913

Women and girls posing on a stump by a river, circa 1913

Young man in a wicker chair, circa 1913

1916 Ford Model T Speedster, March 26, 1916, California


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