Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two Towns, Then and Now!

I always like comparing vintage photos of random towns with contemporary views (often gleaned from Google's "street view"). Today I have two examples for you.

At least this one didn't take much detective work, since that is the U.S. Capitol building way down there. I like the juxtaposition of the gleaming neoclassical structure against the other buildings on the street (which happens to be Pennsylvania Avenue NW, at about 13th Street). The clock tower to our right is part of the "Old Post Office Pavilion" (now called the Nancy Hanks Center), completed in 1899. 

Here's the closest I could get to replicating the view on Google. I think they must have moved the Capitol building an extra quarter of a mile away!! Trees make the other buildings hard to see, which is why I am proposing to outlaw all trees by 2016. Think of the children.

This one, from the late 1940's, was a "mystery town" for about two minutes. Looking up the "Placer Inn" (to our right) yielded instant results… this is Idaho Springs, Colorado (about 30 miles west of Denver), looking east down Miner Street. Idaho Springs was founded during the gold rush of 1859, and it looks it! I love the old cars in this photo.

Here's Google's view; the Placer Inn started out as a nice place to eat and sleep; it became a bowling alley at one point, abut has since been restored, and is now the Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub. It's remarkable how many of the buildings seem to have remained intact over the years. Even the hillside looks the same.

Just for yucks I thought I'd include this postcard view. It's undated, but I swear some of the cars in my photo also appear in this one!

And lastly, I found this neat image from 1889; everyone's looking at the camera, so this must have been some sort of big occasion. The Placer Inn's distinctive roof line can be seen to the right. Dirt roads, horse-drawn ore carts, this place really evokes the "old West". I love the detail of the little boys in their finest late-19th century duds!


Nanook said...


All these wonderful images of Idaho Springs have made me feel like a 'local'. I'm afraid the post card view is a bit older than the swell color image, however.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Idaho Springs still looks pretty good today when compared to its late 1940's older self. Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Snow White Archive said...

Great comparison pics. Always fun to see the changes. Oh, maybe we should keep the trees and outlaw the children...just kidding. ;)

Anonymous said...

We love going to Idaho Springs on a Sunday afternoon to people watch! Also, I believe the 1889 photo was taken on Bring Your Horse to Work Day - obviously nobody thought about the ensuing parking issue.

Bill in Denver

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, are you using your car knowledge as a way of dating the postcard?

K. Martinez, yes, it doesn’t look too bad in the “today” photo. So often towns have lost all their charm in the ensuing 50 years.

Snow White Archive, why don’t we outlaw BOTH? You can’t have too many laws, if you ask me.

Bill in Denver, do you really go to Idaho Springs? SOMETHING was definitely going on, could they have all shown up just to be in the photo?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Major, something big was happening for everyone to bring their teams into town at one time!

We go there often. Idaho Springs is just west of Denver on I-70. Great little town - we often pull off there coming back from the mountains, especially when the east bound skier traffic is jamming the highway on Sundays.

Bill in Denver