It’s hard to believe that the beginning of the 20th century was more than 100 years ago.It doesn’t seem like it could be that long ago. Time passes so quickly, doesn’t it?
Our country was very different back then–these historical photos that have been restored give us a glimpse of a very different way of life: the world that Boomer parents and grandparents were born into. You must click each photo to get the full size–every detail becomes evident. What you see on the page before you click the photo is only part of the scene.
Lincoln Park, Chicago in 1900
You can almost step right into this beautiful photo of Lincoln Park in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. The scene looks like it could have taken place in London, doesn’t it? People enjoying a restful day in the shade. Those hats–and the constricted clothing women had to wear–are remarkable. Click photo for full image.
Labor Day parade in Buffalo, NY
Parades were a wholesome and innocent pastime at the turn of the century and the entire community turned out to enjoy them. Notice the boaters (hats) on the women. In fact, everyone wore a hat. Of course, Buffalo was hot in late summer, even without the kind of impact from global warming that we see today. Imagine wearing all those clothes in the heat and humidity of a western NY state September. Click photo for full image.
I couldn’t find a location for this, but I was very taken by this smiling family. Look closely at the attire and the expressions on the individual faces. What story do they tell? What was life like for this family back then? Click photo to see the whole family.
The real Jersey Shore 1902
The size of the crowd tells us that it was a very warm summer day in Jersey. Without air conditioning, the place to be was the shore and specifically, in the water. Even if you had to cover up to do it. These people must be rolling in their graves at the desecration of the Jersey Shore today. Click photo to see all swimmers.
Jersey shore boardwalk 1905
In 1905, women still were completely covered, despite the heat. Little parasols and big hats completed the beach strolling ensemble. The women in white look so fresh and elegant, but you know they had to be suffering from the heat. But not as much as the women in long dark skirts! It was formality over all, back then. Click photo for full image.
Coney Island bathers in 1905
Swimming costumes in 1905 seem…counterproductive….don’t they? Click photo for full image.
St. Augustine, FL beach 1905
This couple was recording their honeymoon on film. The guy in the cart being “pulled” by the tiny donkey? I’ll bet he lived to regret that photo later! Click photo for full image.
Steel Pier/Atlantic City 1910
It’s a charming view of strollers at Atlantic City’s pier. Click photo for full image.
Atlantic City Beach 1910
My father hadn’t even been born when this photograph was taken. I’m certain that his family never visited the beach. Italian immigrants at the turn of the century were focused on survival in this strange new country where, it turned out, the streets weren’t really paved with gold as promised. Click photo for full image.
Daytona Beach 1910
Spanish moss set the tone, at least away from the ocean. This isn’t what first comes to mind when you think of Daytona Beach, Fla., is it? Click photo for full image.
Bathing at West Palm Beach
My husband lived in West Palm Beach, Fla. for a short time in the 1980s. I guarantee you he never saw a scene like this one. Click photo for full image.
This was 1922 and these girls were attired in the height of bathing fashion. I can’t tell what they were winners of but it looks like perhaps a beauty contest. I can’t even imagine trying to swim in those get-ups. But the shoes look stylish, still, don’t they? Click photo for full image.
Times Square 1908
The Times Square of today looks nothing like this. Can you even imagine NYC with so few people? Click photo for full image.
Pompeiian Rm Hotel Seneca in NYC 1908
Beautiful and elegant in 1908. I had a lovely tea in San Francisco a few months ago in a room quite reminiscent of this. Ambience does count, that’s what I think. At the same time, I contrast this with how my parents grew up. They never saw a place like this growing up and maybe not until their honeymoon. Which was in NYC. Click photo for full image.
1911 aeroplane Washington DC
You call that a safety belt? She looks a little…concerned. But when I think about it, I realize that the skimpy belts that hold us into our airline seats now aren’t much different. Click photo for full image.
Gov’t printing office in Washington, DC 1912
Printing offices will soon be extinct. But back in the day, they were quite an operation. My maternal grandfather worked as a printer. Click photo for full image.
I’m assuming Neighborhood House was some sort of charity project, judging from the way the kitchen looks. There are many community service organizations by the same name today, serving low income families. I’m very taken with the hand beater in the center. Click photo for full image.
Jr. high school home economics class 1921
Not what my home ec class looked like in the 1960s. It looks like these girls mean business. I love their sanitary smocks and caps. Click photo for full image.
Post Office delivery truck in Washington DC 1914
Here’s something that may well become extinct in our lifetime. It’s almost there now.
I hope these beautiful photos brought back memories. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know in the comments section below.
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