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  1. #1

    Default A shorpy gem from 110 years back; Washington Blvd n. from Michigan Ave.


  2. #2

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    Crazy to think the only two things still there today are the Macomb monument and the Stevens Building on the right. Makes you wonder what it'll look like in 2119.

  3. #3

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    Very interesting... thanks for the link Ray!

    Something I didn't know... that the Alexander Macomb statue was the creation of Adolph Weinman. Most here won't know this, but Weinman was to create the winning entries for new designs for a dime and half dollar in 1916. His Mercury dime design was used on dimes from 1916 to 1945 (followed by the current Roosevelt dime in 1946). His Walking Liberty half dollar design was used on halves from 1916 until 1947 (followed by the Franklin half dollars in 1948, and current Kennedy half dollars in 1964).
    Last edited by Gistok; July-24-19 at 09:50 PM.

  4. #4

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    Frankly, I always thought old Alex was looking for a warmer place; as did I, moving to southern Nevada.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1936 View Post
    Frankly, I always thought old Alex was looking for a warmer place; as did I, moving to southern Nevada.
    I could have sworn he had that cape off during last week's heat wave.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSortzi View Post
    Crazy to think the only two things still there today are the Macomb monument and the Stevens Building on the right. Makes you wonder what it'll look like in 2119.
    I'm having trouble spotting the Stevens building - isn't it blocked by the trees? Also, I never considered that there would have been an earlier church building for St. Aloysius.

  7. #7

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    Looks like Henry Ford and Edison in the foreground of the park. Henry stopping by his old place of employment and Edison checking in on his franchisee.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    I'm having trouble spotting the Stevens building - isn't it blocked by the trees? Also, I never considered that there would have been an earlier church building for St. Aloysius.
    Itís on the right side of the photo past the old St. Aloysius.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    I'm having trouble spotting the Stevens building - isn't it blocked by the trees? Also, I never considered that there would have been an earlier church building for St. Aloysius.
    Here's the Stevens Building with the later Kamper Building across the side street from it. It has/had one of the worst remodeling jobs on the lower floors. Is Kraemer Design Group going to restore the lower floors? Or have they already? Haven't been down to Washington Blvd. in a while... I'm afraid to look at the Statler block...

    I wonder if that 2 story portion (rehab on the right) was originally in the Shorpy's pic before it was desecrated?

    The Stevens Building does have a nice cornice along the top... looks like it wasn't removed in the 50s/60s when the city made building owners secure their facades.
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    Last edited by Gistok; July-25-19 at 03:25 AM.

  10. #10

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    First why does this site have the fascination with the hack Shorpy? Every photo posted here from Shorpy is available to anyone for free from the Burton Historical Collection or the Library of Congress. I wish Lowell would ban Shorpy from this site!! None of the buildings in the photo are standing.
    Designed by Donaldson & Meier for Mrs. W. H. Stevens. Stevens Building, 1258 Washington Boulevard built in 1901 Washington Boulevard Historic District, Detroit, MI. Includes an image of the building from a 1914 issue of the Bricklayer. Extensive alterations
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by p69rrh51 View Post
    First why does this site have the fascination with the hack Shorpy? Every photo posted here from Shorpy is available to anyone for free from the Burton Historical Collection or the Library of Congress. I wish Lowell would ban Shorpy from this site!! None of the buildings in the photo are standing.
    Designed by Donaldson & Meier for Mrs. W. H. Stevens. Stevens Building, 1258 Washington Boulevard built in 1901 Washington Boulevard Historic District, Detroit, MI. Includes an image of the building from a 1914 issue of the Bricklayer. Extensive alterations
    Did you know that photos can be posted on numerous websites at once? In fact, it's not uncommon to find the exact same photo on numerous websites! Hard to believe, I know. Oh! And the same thing goes for books! Photos can be published in numerous books at once!

    Seriously, if you don't like it don't look at it and ignore it. Life goes on.

    There's plenty of things people post on here I don't comment on, because I don't care about it or find it interesting. You don't have to be a dick. Some people find these posts interesting, regardless of what the URL is.

  12. #12

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    Hack Shorpy? Hack how?

    By my lights Shorpy gets an image, cleans it up and makes history come alive. True, he doesnít take the photos, but gets most of them from the library of Congress. Iím interested in learning you you feel he is a hack, that he doesnít add any value to the photos.

  13. #13

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    Viva Shorpy!

  14. #14

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    The Detroit Publishing Co. photos obtained by Shorpy from the Library of Congress are all public domain and can be used by anyone for free. Good manners, though, for any site reproducing them would be to credit the LOC.

    Shorpy brightens and boosts contrast on the photos, which may give a superficial suggestion of more sharpness, but actually degrades the image a bit and introduces digital noise. The unretouched original scans can be found here. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/det/

  15. #15

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    Burnsie, I totally agree.

    I'd like Shorpy better if s/he credited the LOC.

    And as every good photographer knows, what matters most is the image collected upon the shutter click. Any alterations done thereafter are destructive, whether digital or analog.

    Yet super saturation and high contrast appeal to the masses, whose look is typically only a glance.
    Last edited by bust; July-27-19 at 03:48 PM.

  16. #16

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    Shorpy credits the original photographer, if known, on the individual photos. I prefer that because it has led me to look for more works by the photographers. It's not obvious, but at the bottom right of the page, it does give general credit and a link to the LOC:

    About the Photos
    Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.


    The last link shows the process used on the photos. Since I'm more interested in the content than what angle the light fell over the subjects' shoulders, I prefer the after versions. Finally, if you think the denizens of Shorpy only glance at the photos, you must not read the comments. Some folks pore over the photos and pull out some amazing details.

  17. #17

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    Archfan, whoever runs Shorpy is a great photo retoucher, and I didn't mean to throw shade on Shorpy fans. Of course many inspect these images closely. They're a self-selected crowd of people interested in detail.

    But I stand by my comment on popular taste in regard to saturation and contrast (and thereby what sells). If you're interested, Lev Manovich did a thoughtful study on the topic, here:

    Instagram and Contemporary Image
    http://manovich.net/content/04-proje...ovich_2017.pdf

    Shorpy's retouched images are more pleasing to the eye and some details are made more obvious. Just know that some details are also literally added. Some content in the retouched versions is the product of the retoucher's imagination.

    In the image posted by the OP, the retoucher "corrected" details that were washed out from excess exposure by cloning segments and pasting them in a series where something much like them should have been (the overhead cables). The aim seems to be true to the subject. It makes for a more aesthetically appealing image too.

    But in other cases, like the Ansel Adams example on Shorpy's "Before and After" page, what are the chances the actual sky the day that photo was taken was as tempestous as it appears in the retouched version? Shorpy's version adds drama, for sure.

    Of course photographers have used artistic license like this almost as long as there has been photography. Ansel Adams wrote extensively on how to do so using analog techniques.

    The fact remains, if your interest is the content, it is there in more detail in the original photographs than in their retouched versions. Even when it is sometimes hard to see. And the truest details are always those that were collected by the film, or these days, the chip -- before darkroom or software alterations.

    I'm all for creative license, just be aware what you're getting.

    That said analog photographs can never be fully appreciated via the intermediary grid of a digital screen.

    Here is a great photo forensics tool you can use to inspect what digital retouching manipulations have been done:

    https://29a.ch/photo-forensics/
    Last edited by bust; July-30-19 at 09:33 PM.

  18. #18

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    I like the Shorpy's... touch up and all.

    It's modern photography like this one of the Michigan Theatre that (although it is quite a nice photo image)... is not what the real former theatre interior looks like. With a fish eye lens and all the new filters that new cameras have that makes nice images... but again not quite what you see when you visit the photo's actual site.

    Do these come under the scrutiny that retouched old photo's get?
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  19. #19

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    ^^^ Looks like a bit of Photoshop and or Lightroom affects applied as well.... but still cool!

  20. #20

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    For the information of the naysayers, I only share a Shorpy link when a really interesting photo of past Detroit appears, which is perhaps two or three times a year. My intent in sharing Shorpy at that time is for all to enjoy what was Detroit. I shall continue to do so, labeling the headline to include the word "Shorpy" so you can skip over it if so inclined.

  21. #21

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    I like them. Even if not original, the detail is great to see. Keep 'em coming!

  22. #22

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    Keep on posting Ray. Thank you! By the way, how's the grasshopper invasion over there?

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maof View Post
    Keep on posting Ray. Thank you! By the way, how's the grasshopper invasion over there?
    Seems to be easing off today, but it was a circus! One got into the house and our cat went bonkers chasing it around. Finally I was able to catch it and toss it into the wind. We're about 2000 feet above the valley floor in the foothills of Black Mountain, so didn't get it near as thick as downhill.

  24. #24

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    ^^^ I remember when grasshoppers were everywhere in Detroit. Especially near construction. I was a kid as the Jeffries (1-96) freeway was built nearby and there were grasshoppers all of over our yards and garden. Where'd they all go?
    Last edited by Zacha341; July-30-19 at 09:18 PM.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1936 View Post
    Seems to be easing off today, but it was a circus! One got into the house and our cat went bonkers chasing it around. Finally I was able to catch it and toss it into the wind. We're about 2000 feet above the valley floor in the foothills of Black Mountain, so didn't get it near as thick as downhill.
    On the news, it looked like an old 60's B movie.

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