60 Classic Photos That Shine A New Light On History
George Harrison and Stevie Nicks, 1978.
Every so often you catch a glimpse of a once in a lifetime photo that makes you think differently about a specific moment in history. From bygone structures to vintage ads, and stars in the prime of their lives, the photos collected here provide new insight into the 19th and 20th centuries. There’s no better way to discover something new about the past than to explore history through our pictures.
These photos are the closest thing to a time machine that we’ll ever have, and with them we can learn something special about people and places we’ve only heard of in history books. Get ready to learn something and let’s crack on!
Not that we’re complaining, but what the heck was Stevie Nicks doing hanging out with George Harrison? It turns out that the two were friends and that she even helped him write the 1979 song “Here Comes The Moon.” According to Nicks, the song was a one-off thing that happened when they both turned up in Hawaii at the same time.
In the book George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door, Nicks said that she keeps a picture of herself and Harrison around when she tours to get her through the tough nights. She said:
When I go on the road it goes right on my makeup mirror, so before I go on stage, whether it's with Fleetwood Mac or me in my solo career, the three of us are looking back at me and that has been my inspiration every single night. There's lots of nights where you kind of go, I wish I didn't have to go on stage tonight, I'm tired, I don't feel like doing it, and I look at George Harrison and me and I go, well, you just have to, because it's important, it's important to make people happy, so get out of your chair, put on your boots and go out there and do your thing.
Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) at the age of ten with his dog Rex, 1914
Dr. Seuss wasn’t always a doctor, but oddly enough he was technically a Seuss - it was his mother’s maiden name. Born Theodore Geisel, he was brought up in Springfield Massachusetts where he helped his father work in the family brewery until it was closed due to prohibition.
When he wasn’t helping his father, the young Seuss spent a lot of time at the local zoo where he would sketch the animals while hanging out with his mother and sister. Is it any wonder that so many weird and wacky animals made their way into his later work? If only we knew whether or not his mother served green eggs and ham.
Alfred Hitchcock and his grandchildren on a sleigh ride in 1960.
Even though he was the master of terror, Alfred Hitchcock liked to have a good time. After all, what’s the dark side of life if you don’t have fun every once in a while? Like most grandparents, Hitchcock obviously loved spoiling his grandchildren, and according to Tere O’Connell Carrubba (the middle of Hitchcock’s female grandchildren) he was always game to hang out with them.
Carrubba told Mercury News that Hitchcock loved spending time in San Francisco and that he often took trips to Scotts Valley, which was then a hefty seven and a half hour drive away. Whatever it takes to get away.
The beauty of Grace Kelly on her wedding day, 1956.
While many young women dream of becoming a princess, Grace Kelly actually made that dream come true when she married Monaco's Prince Rainier on April, 18 1956. On the day Kelly wore a dress that was provided by MGM and it supposedly required 30 seamstresses and six weeks to produce. Now that’s how you make a wedding dress.
In attendance to the wedding were stars like Cary Grant, Ava Gardner, and Gloria Swanson, and Kelly supposedly thought that the whole thing was “overwhelming.” Her son, Prince Albert, said that both of his parents that that the whole thing was too much.
'The Twins,' Lisa and Louise Burns take a break from filming "The Shining" (1980).
Without a doubt the creepiest part of The Shining, one of the scariest movies ever made, is when young Danny rides his tricycle through the hallways of the overlook hotel and comes across the Grady twins, two girls who were chopped up by their father after he went crazy while taking care of the hotel during the harsh winter months.
According to the Burns twins, despite playing the ghosts of two dead girls they had a great time on set. They told the Daily Mail:
Everyday felt like we’d been invited to a very exclusive party and we were the youngest, luckiest people to be there. Stanley wanted us on set every single day, so between scenes we would play with Danny [Lloyd] and Jack [Nicholson].
Here's a baby in an overhead cradle on an airplane in the early 1950s.
If you think that flying is lousy now, just imagine trying to ride on an airplane while a baby sleeps in a cradle hanging off of the overhead compartment. You know how hard it is to find space for your carry on bag, that problem’s only exacerbated when a new mother is trying to make sure her newborn has space to sleep comfortably where your bag should go.
Aside from the problem of overhead luggage, turbulence must have been an issue for the tot holding “sky cots.” We can’t imagine that the babies at all comfortable upon running the plane running into an air pocket.
Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese's mother on the set of "Goodfellas." Mrs. Scorsese often cooked meals for the cast and crew of her son's films. (1989)
While Martin Scorsese has an entire filmography full of highly quotable movies, Goodfellas is truly one of the most memorable films every made. On top of that, it’s got a ton of food work in the movie, and the most well known food scene takes place following a hit carried out by Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito. In that scene DeVito’s mother cooks food for everyone and she’s played by Martin Scorsese’s actual mother.
Not only did Scorsese's mother Catherine cook for the cast and crew during the film, but the prison sequence where Paul Sorvino shaves garlic with a razor blade comes from her cookbook. Scorsese told Jimmy Kimmel:
My mother made a dish called chicken with lemon and garlic and if you go to Francis Coppola's restaurant he has it on the menu... It's pretty good, pretty close... The garlic was cut so thin and she would put it on the chicken and the chicken would be roasted... and the garlic would blacken and then disappear into the lemon juice. It was delicious.
Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell and Rob Lowe on the set of "The Outsiders," 1983.
The Outsiders, Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation about the life and times of a struggling group of lower class friends is truly an under appreciated piece of work in the director’s filmography. Not only does this film capture the desperation of working class youth in the 1950s, but it also presents a stark contrast to the wave of ‘50s nostalgia that appeared in the 1980s.
The film also introduced audiences to actors like Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, and Rob Lowe, all actors who would go one to be huge names in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Nothing gold can stay, but this movie definitely holds up.
Fearless painters on the Woolworth Building in New York City, 1926.
Well here’s to a set of guys who risked their lives to make sure the Woolworth Building in New York City was painted. In 1926 these fellows made their way up to stomach churning heights on top of one of the 50 tallest buildings in the world to make sure it stayed ship shape and Bristol fashion. To work on a building like this you’ve got to not only trust your harness but you’ve got to trust your crew.
But never mind how these guys got outside on the side of building, how do you think they had lunch? Did they have to climb back inside or do you think they just kept a bucket of sandwiches with them? What a wild life.
The University of Texas women's track team at practice in 1964.
Texas may be known for barbecue, beer, and football, but those aren’t the only thing the lone star state cares about. The second biggest state in the union loves sports, and in the 1960s the UT women’s track team made it a point to run like the wind and to look good while doing it - which should have garnered them at least a few extra points.
Can you imagine running with that much hair spray on your head? Or with a full on beehive hairdo? It may sound ridiculous but it was just something that came with being a female sports star in the ‘60s.
Here's a tree growing through an abandoned piano.
Imagine playing a game of disc golf, and as you run through the forest you come across this tree growing through a piano. This photo of a tree growing through a piano was taken on the campus of California State University in Monterey, California. While the main pieces of the piano were actually cut in half and then placed around the tree, the tree continued to grow through the piano.
The artist behind “Piano Tree,” Jeff Mifflin, says that he wants the people who see it to imagine the “ethereal sound” of the wind through the leaves of the tree.
"Evening near the Pyramids" by Ernest R. Ashton, 1897.
Taken by Ernest Ashton, this photo of the pyramids taken as the sun sets not only shows the beauty of the Middle East but it shows Ashton’s particular eye for finding contrasting light and shadow. Remember, this was taken in a time long before digital photographs and Photoshop, which makes the contrast between the clouds and the sky even more gorgeous.
Ashton was able to take such an arresting photo by waiting until the sun dipped behind the clouds, thus not blasting the lens with its harsh light. As grand as the photo is, it’s only about five inches by seven inches, which makes it even more fascinating.
'Cow shoes' used by moonshiners in the Prohibition days to disguise their footprints, 1924.
During prohibition bootleggers, moonshiners, and rum runners were doing their best to avoid getting caught by the fuzz while they were making their own alcohol and selling it to people who just wanted a drink. Moonshiners did pretty much everything they could to throw the police off their scent, and that includes wearing these “cow shoes.”
So how did they work? Cow shoes were simple pieces of wood that moonshiners fixed to the bottoms of their shoes in order to make their footprints look like hoof prints. The main belief was that if cops saw a simple set of hoof prints they wouldn’t follow up on it. Genius.
Here's a great colorized photo of actress Susan Peters, 1943.
Even though she had a short lived career on the silver screen, Susan Peters was a bright and shining star who appeared in films like Dr. Gillespie’s New Assistant and The Big Shot before earning an Academy Award nomination for her role as Kitty in Random Harvest, a film about a shellshocked World War I veteran.
Unfortunately, she only appeared in eight more films over the course of the next nine years and in 1952 she passed away due to chronic kidney infection which was exacerbated by self starvation. She was posthumously given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hoover Dam under construction in 1934.
One of the many projects that helped pull America out of the Great Depression, the construction of the Hoover Dam was a five year ordeal that cost $49 million in 1931, which is about $639 million in 2016. The spot in Black Canyon where the Hoover Dam was built had been sought after as a place for a dam since 1900, but construction didn’t begin until Congress gave permission for the project.
By 1934, employment for the Dam peaked at 5,251 laborers, and by 1936 the Dam was barely finished in time for the super structure’s dedication. Now that's American ingenuity!
Kmart In The 1970s
Kmart, your savings store, was your one stop shop in the 1970s for everything you needed from discount foods to clothing. This department store was well known for having fantastic deals, but with the introduction of the blue light special they absolutely changed the game when it came to saving money. When those blue lights turned on, that meant that you had an hour to score extra savings on select merchandise.
At the heigh of Kmart’s popularity you’d be hard pressed to find a time when the store wasn’t jam packed with folks looking for discounts. In the ‘70s Kmart really was the place to be.
Photograph of “Rabbit Tail,” who was a member of the Shoshone tribe and worked as a U.S. Army scout. (1895)
Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 29129, but in 1933 she and her family moved to Following the migration of European-American settlers in the late 19th century, members of the Shoshone tribe were displaced from their homes in present-day Idaho and Wyoming. In spite of skirmishes and short battles with the US Army in the 1860s, the Shoshone tribe began working with the United States in 1878 during the Battle of the Rosebud against the Lakota and Cheyenne.
During the partnership with the U.S. Army in the late 1800s many members of the Shoshone, like Rabbit-Tail were employed as Army Scouts, specialized men who could follow horse tracks, and determine how many soldiers were in a specific group. These native scouts played a major part in the expansion of the United States.
"Just Divorced" in 1934.
There’s nothing like the joy of getting out of something you don’t want to do, be it a job, a boring party, or a marriage. As depressing as this may look, this guy is obviously happy to be out of whatever relationship he was in, and he’s celebrating with a twist on the classic “Just Married” signs that a lot of couples tack onto their cars.
Even though he’s probably hurting he’s obviously taking the whole thing with a sense of humor, which is better than how a lot of other people would handle it. Hopefully he never had to go through this again.
The night watchdog on duty at Macy's department store in New York City, 1954. (Photo by Bob Lerne)
There are few things that are more interesting than a dog with a job. And in the early and mid 20th centuries guard dogs were put in use by major stores in order to keep their merchandise safe from anyone who might pop in and grab a handful of jewelry while knicking some dresses.
Most guard dogs are put to use because of their loud barks, which is why Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds saw a lot of use in the ‘50s, but these dogs also know how to be mean when they need to be. They’re also very territorial. As true as that may be guard dogs went out of fashion along with the rise of modern security systems.
A graveyard for the iconic red telephone boxes.
Where do all those red telephone boxes go when they’ve outlived their usefulness? If they aren’t lucky enough to be repurposed then the telephone boxes are sent to storage spaces in small villages in England. There’s one phone box cemetery in Carlton Miniott that holds hundreds of these phone boxes and each of them lies in different states of disrepair.
If you’re in the area you can pick up a red phone box and do with it what you will, a lot of artists pick these bad boys up and do different things with them, if you’re going to do the same make sure you pick up plenty of red paint.
A lion cub visits a second grade class in Garden City, Kansas. (1951)
What’s this lion doing in a Kansas City classroom? In 1956 a lion cub named Kyla made a big splash in the state of Kansas after Stuart Hansen and his wife apparently found themselves hosting the little cub in their home. According to the Garden City Telegram, the little lion was so popular that people started paying visits to the home just to say hello.
The paper reported that Kyla had Wichita “agog” with her cuteness and that she shortly began paying visits to local schools due to the “traffic” moving through the Hansen home. Do you think Kyla ended up staying at the Hansen's house or did she finally end up in a zoo?
Miners use an 'aerial tram' to descend into the Kimberly Diamond Mine in South Africa, 1885.
Diamonds have always held a special place in our hearts. They’re beautiful and they glisten like some kind of otherworldly presence - they’re also incredibly hard to find. Kimberley is a diamond mining epicenter in the Northern Cape province of South Africa that went into operation in 1869. Once diamond miners decided to dig in the area they built an entire town around the mine and created a series of railways to transport people into the dig site.
At the time much of the diamond production was headed up by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. one of the biggest diamond producers in the world to this day. The mine finally shut down in 1914.
John Candy, Tom Hanks and Eugene Levy hanging out with Daryl Hannah as she is getting turned into a mermaid for the movie "Splash," 1984.
Splash is one of the greatest movies of the 1980s. It introduced theatrical audiences to Tom Hanks, and it made use of SCTV alums John Candy and Eugene Levy, oh and it stars Daryl Hannah. According to Hannah, her mermaid tail took eight hours to put on and much of it was hand painted. She even says that after having it on all day made it harder for her to walk at the end of the day. Hannah said:
My circulation would be gone in my extremities, so it took a while before I could walk again. It made me very sympathetic to fish! I remember when I was filming the scene in the lab tank I was very upset about a big fish that was being kept in a smaller tank.
Actor Lon Chaney Jr. resting between takes while filming "The Wolfman", 1941.
One of the most popular monsters in the Universal horror universe, The Wolfman tells the story of Larry Talbot Jr., a man who’s estranged from his father. He returns home to visit his father and ends up attacked by a wolf and cursed with lycanthropy. In order to get into his makeup Chaney had to spend hours having his face put on - the whole thing took two and a half hours, so it’s no wonder he needed some rest.
Chaney claimed that while putting the makeup on was a problem, taking it off was even worse. He once said:
What gets me is after work when I’m all hot and itchy and tired… [I’ve still] got to sit in that chair for forty-five minutes while Pierce just about kills me, ripping off all the stuff he put on me in the morning.
An abandoned Gothic revival home built in the 1840s.
For a certain group of spooky people there’s no cooler form of architecture than that of Gothic Revival. This kind of structure came into prominence in the late 19th century for both churches and homes, that means that pointed windows, multiple chimneys, and asymmetrical floor plans were the toast of the town for nearly 40 years.
The gothic revival occurred in Europe and America which means that there are a lot of different types of gothic homes across the world, so if you want to have your very own haunted house you can make that happen with something as easy as a down payment.
Workers forging the chain for the Titanic's anchor in 1910.
On March 31, 1909, the keel for the RMS Titanic was laid down. In order to build a 10 deck ship that weighed 46,328 tons, 15,000 workers were brought in under the tutelage of Harland and Wolff, the industrial company that was tasked with building the massive passenger liner. The ship took 26 months to build, and some of the last pieces added to the boat were its anchors.
The center anchor for the Titanic is reported to be 16 tons, which makes it the largest forged at the time - and that’s just one of three anchors that were attached to this supposedly unsinkable ship. Maybe one day someone will be able to pull something that heavy from the bottom of the ocean so we can see it in person.
Best friends, 1924.
Is there any better friendship than that of a boy and his dog? This vintage photo shows the love between this youngster and pup that’s almost his size, which is just downright adorable. From the looks of it this dog and his boy definitely spent a lot of time together, and they probably got into all kinds of trouble together - just like a good friends should.
Can’t you just see it, two little friends bumbling around the dirt roads and coming home in time for dinner covered in artificial bumps and scrapes? If you’ve got a dog remember to scratch their noggin, they could definitely use it.
California Street in San Francisco, 1964.
Is there any street that’s more emblematic of San Francisco than California Street? These lanes of blacktop aren’t just on a hill, they’re a straight shot up to a lovely peak that looks out over the city. As one of the longest streets in San Francisco, California Street doesn’t just have a thoroughfare, it’s got a cable car line that runs up through the Fillmore District.
If you make your way to California Street any time soon make sure you stop by the Grace Cathedral and the very cool Masonic Auditorium. It’s truly a gorgeous part of the city.
Cute little girl taking her puppy for a walk in the early 1900s.
This is not a drill filks, we’ve got a very cute puppy on our hands and an even cuter little lady who’s pushing it around in a stroller. It turns out that regardless of the time, children love pushing things around in strollers - especially tiny little dogs. As cute as these two are, will you take a look at this fancy little stroller?
This Victorian era stroller looks like it would be kind of hard to keep a kid in it without dropping them, but apparently it’s perfect for a dog, and thank goodness it is because this little guy is adorable.
Dancing in Paris, late 1940s.
Even though Paris was in ten times of disarray following the end of World War II, after the Germans left the city the French celebrated by literally dancing in the street. While the city wasn’t as run down as London was - the Nazis stationed in Paris famously refused to destroy the Eiffel Tower - the area still had its fair share of problems.
That being said, with the Nazis gone people began to have fun again and Paris became a go to place for music lovers everywhere. Jazz musicians made their way to the city and clubs opened up all over. But who needs a club when you can dance in the streets?
George Harrison taking a 'selfie' in front of the Taj Mahal in 1966.
One of the earliest and coolest selfies ever taken, following The Beatles final tour of America George Harrison got really into the culture of India. He visited the country many times to study the sitar with Ravi Shankar or to work on his yoga abilities with his wife Pattie. Harrison said of his initial visit to India:
I went to India in September 1966. When I had first come across a record of Ravi Shankar's I had a feeling that, somewhere, I was going to meet him. It happened that I met him in London in June, at the house of Ayana Deva Angadi, founder of the Asian Music Circle. An Indian man had called me up and said that Ravi was going to be there. The press had been trying to put me and him together since I used the sitar on Norwegian Wood.
They started thinking: 'A photo opportunity – a Beatle with an Indian.' So they kept trying to put us together, and I said 'no', because I knew I'd meet him under the proper circumstances, which I did. He also came round to my house, and I had a couple of lessons from him on how to sit and hold the sitar.
So in September, after touring and while John was making How I Won the War, I went to India for about six weeks. First I flew to Bombay and hung out there. Again, because of the mania, people soon found out I was there.
I stayed in a Victorian hotel, the Taj Mahal, and was starting to learn the sitar. Ravi would give me lessons, and he'd also have one of his students sit with me. My hips were killing me from sitting on the floor, and so Ravi brought a yoga teacher to start showing me the physical yoga exercises.
Great shot of Freddie Mercury and the crowd at Wembley Stadium. (1986)
Queen was one of those bands that were at the top of their game no matter when you saw them live. If you watch their performances through the years it seems as though the group grows tighter and more uplifting with every performance. This fact is never more present than in their 1986 Wembley Stadium concert.
This show saw the band play for nearly two hours straight, and in that time the group managed to run through all of their hits as well as some deep cuts. No matter which era of Queen you love the most, this show will have you on your feet even if you’re watching it from the comfort of your own living room.
Gunnar Kaasen and his team of 13 dogs, led by the Siberian husky, Balto, completed the last leg of a 1925 trip to deliver 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska.
There are some people who are just born to be heroes, and Gunnar Kaasen is one of those men. This Norwegian born man ended up in America during the gold rush of the early 20th century, and he found himself to be an excellent musher, or dog sledder, and he ended up moving to Nome, Alaska on the hunt for gold.
After an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, a group of 20 mushers began a multi-day, 674 mile relay to get the medication to the small town. Despite winds that were so intense that they flipped his slid, Kaasen made it to Nome on schedule, saving the town.
Harlem in the 1970s.
People living in Harlem in the 1970s were the folks who were left in the area after what can best be described as an evacuation occurred for neighborhoods like Queens and the Bronx in search of better housing and safer streets. The citizens of New York who stayed in Harlem in the ‘70s either loved the area so much that they didn’t want to leave, or they couldn’t afford to get out. While this might sound depressing, it’s clear from this photo that the people who stuck around certainly had style.
Even though the area was at its nadir in the 1970s, there was a vibrant sense of life in the area which meant that the people who lived their did their best to make it feel like home.
Harsh marriage advice for young ladies from a suffragette in 1918. This pamphlet is on display at the Pontypridd Museum in Wales.
The Suffragette movement began in earnest in 1848 at a women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, which went onto inspire women across America to form their own groups and attend conventions similar in nature. Initially the movement formed as a way to help women earn the right to vote, but there were also Suffragettes who weren’t so hot on men, hence this pamphlet.
Admittedly, even though the views in this pamphlet are virulently anti-male, it’s really funny. And we can’t speak to whether or not yard swillers make good husbands, we can say that it’s always nice to be fed, whether or not you’re a brute.
Here's a 7 year-old Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with his father Rocky Johnson, who was a famous pro wrestler. (1978)
Long before he was The Rock, and even before he was wrestling as Rocky Maivia at Survivor Series ’96, Dwayne Johnson was just a kid growing up in a wrestling family. Johnson was born in Hayword, California to Rocky Johnson, an NWA Heavyweight Champion and a member of the first black tag team to take home the gold in the WWF.
Initially, Rocky Johnson didn’t want his son to get into the wrestling business, but he agreed to train the boy after Dwayne agreed that his father shouldn’t take things easy on him. The young Johnson floundered for about a year in the WWF before finding his footing and becoming one of the most popular wrestlers of all time.
Ireland has always been seen as a low class country throughout history, and in the early 20th century Ireland was just coming out of the potato famine, which technically ended in 1852, but there’s no way that anyone forgot about the suffering that they’d gone through. By 1915 the slums of Dublin were considered to be some of the worst in Europe.
At the time the people living in the slums were subject to incredibly high death rates and there were no jobs, however there wasn’t a lot of violent crime, and mostly people were just stealing things. All of this changed with World War I when the standard of life rose thanks to the influx of ammunition factories.
Marilyn Monroe in 1949.
When audiences think of Marilyn Monroe they tend to think of her work in the late 1950s. From ’55 on she starred in films like The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, and while she was in a few films in the late 1940s she wasn’t front and center. However that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t on her way to being a star.
Monroe was featured in a 1949 Life Magazine photo spread while she was taking dance lessons and stretching. The early photos of Monroe show that she was always gorgeous and that she had that certain star presence even before she was appearing with her name over her marquee.
Mini-skirts and colorful tights in 1969.
The 1960s are known for jumpstarting so many trends that are still around in some form of fashion to this day, but the mini-skirt is truly one of the most endearing forms of fashion that’s ever come to light. After mini-skirts went into production in the ‘60s there was a huge pushback against the trend, but girls loved wearing them and the look was unstoppable.
The skirts were even banned for a little while in the Netherlands, but the pushback didn’t stick because young women made their voices heard with their wallets and the skirts are still around to this day.
Taking a ride on the Snow King Chairlift in Jackson, Wyoming in 1965.
If you’re going to Jackson, Wyoming any time soon then you need to take a ride on the most scenic chairlift in America. The Snow King Chairlift takes its riders up 1,571 feet to the summit of Snow King Mountain where you can see the Grand Tetons, an Elk Refuge and Jackson, Wyoming. Supposedly if you go on a perfect day you can even see Yellowstone.
The ride takes about 12 minutes, and even though that sounds like a long ride it’s a great way to take in the scenery, and at the top you can ride it back down (obviously), but if you’re feeling extra adventurous you can hike down the mountain.
The infamous exotic dancer and double agent, Margaretha Geertruida 'Margreet' MacLeod a.k.a. "Mata Hari" in 1906.
Mata Hari is one of the most famous spies of the 20th century, and in spite of stories about her romancing soldiers while she danced and exchanging secrets, her real life was far less cinematic. While she agreed to spy for France in 1916, she was caught up in a mess that ended with her facing accusations of spying for Germany less than a year later.
The spy claimed that she was simply romancing the Germans because she wanted to get more information from them, but French officials still found her guilty of espionage and executed her by firing squad on October 15, 1917.
Traveling in style, the family RV in 1924.
In the modern era it doesn’t seem like a big deal to get the family together, pile into an RV, and take off on a cross-country road trip. But that was easier said than done in the early 20th century. In the 1920s families who wanted to travel into the wilderness on vacation modified their own automobiles into makeshift campers that look downright cool.
Initially early RVs were cars with lockers and bunkers built onto the car bodies, with some cars - like the one pictured - looking more like a 19th century carriage than a modern automobile. It wasn’t until after World War II that RVs as we know them now came into prominence.
Triple-decker bus in Berlin, Germany. (1926)
Sometimes you just have to move a lot of people from one place to another, and when you need to do that you can’t use a single bus, and sometimes even a double decker won’t due - that’s when you pull out the big guns and prep the triple decker bus. Okay not really, There have only been a few triple decker busses that have been known to actually travel anywhere.
Aside from a triple decker bus that operated in Rome in 1932, every other triple decker is either a piece of trick photography, or it’s a prop for a movie. It’s not that these busses don’t look cool, it’s that they’re wildly unstable.
Visiting the beautiful Multnomah Falls in Oregon, 1918.
As you round the bend of the Columbia River Gorge near Dodson, Oregon you’ll come upon a beautiful waterfall known as Multnomah Falls. This waterfall is not only the tallest waterfall in the state, but it’s surrounded by a lovely pathway and viewing bridge that allows spectators to take in the scenery .
The falls have been around for at least 15,000 years, but in the late 19th century a railway line stop for the falls made this spot a must see for the weary traveler. In 1915 a trail to the falls was constructed, making the area a real tourist attraction.
Wonder Woman meets the Bionic Woman in 1977.
Lindsay Wagner and Lynda Carter are definitely two women you don’t want to mess with, and not just because they played super heroes on television in the 1970s. Okay, admittedly Wagner played a “bionic” woman but that’s still pretty super in our book. Both shows were on in the late ‘70s, and for a while they were even on the same channel - ABC.
Both shows only lasted for a few seasons, but they were groundbreaking in their narratives in that they put strong women on television when that wasn’t the norm. Is it too early to ask for some kind of Bionic and Wonder Woman crossover reboot?
Young lady posing with her cat in 1910.
People have always loved taking photos with their pets. Whether they were posing with the family dog or with their beloved cat, there’s something deep inside of a human that makes us want to capture a moment with our best animal friend. This photo is no different, and it shows a slice of life from the early 20th century that makes the past seem so modern.
While people today aren’t lavishing their cats with ribbons and bells, it’s not a far cry from some of the collars you can get for your pet. in fact, the most amazing thing about this photo is how the woman was able to hold her cat still for so long.
Built in 1724, the library inside of the Waldsassen Abbey in Bavaria holds thousands of volumes bound in white pigskin.
Near the border of Bavaria Germany and the Czech Republic lies the Waldsassen Abbey, a Catholic nunnery that was first established in the 12th century. In 1724 the nunnery added a library built in early Rococo style meaning that it’s incredibly ornate and theatrical. Honestly how else would you expect to present a library such as this?
The books are all bound in white pig skin, and in recent history its also played host to the International Ceramics Museum, which is a hard left turn if ever there were one. The library is maintained by the nuns of the Cistercian Sisterhood.
Dracula's Castle in Romania, 1929.
Whether you call it Dracula’s castle or Bran castle, if you’re ever in Romania you’ll vant to visit this landmark attraction that inspired Bram Stoker to write his groundbreaking novel, Dracula. Interestingly enough, Stoker never actually visited this medieval fortress, he simply described the castle as it was described in Transylvania: Its Product and Its People - a book from 1865.
As spooky as it may be, the castle is truly a gorgeous sight to behold, and while it was initially constructed in 1211, the actual stone facade wasn’t finished until 1388. In 1459 a guy by the name of Vlad the Impaler used Bran Castle as a home base while he fought the Saxons.
Getting around in the flood waters of Paris, 1924.
Paris has been known to flood every so often, but it’s been happening more and more often since the “Great Flood of Paris” in 1910. One of the biggest problems that occurs during a flood is that the river Seine - which flows through the middle of the city, rises into the streets and creates havoc for anyone who’s not a fish.
Parisians are a smart group, and they’ve survived some truly devastating attacks so they’re not going to let something like a little rain get them down. Still, this photo makes you wonder where all of these chairs came from.
Laurel and Hardy in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland on their tour in 1953.
While this comedy duo started performing together in the early 1920s, and in their time together they made 107 films together while performing a live show that made use of their most popular bits along with a few new things that the audience hadn’t seen yet. In their final years they made their way to Europe where they performed a rather long tour of Ireland in 1953.
The love and affection we found that day at Cobh was simply unbelievable. There were hundreds of boats blowing whistles and mobs and mobs of people screaming on the docks. We just couldn't understand what it was all about. And then something happened that I can never forget. All the church bells in Cobh started to ring out our theme song 'Dance of the Cuckoos' and Babe (Oliver Hardy) looked at me and we cried. I'll never forget that day. Never.
Photograph taken at Stonehenge in 1867.
People have always been mystified by the strange pagan beauty of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. The stone structure was likely built at some point between 3000 BC and 2000 BC and while the area contains human remains, it’s unclear whether or not the site was initially supposed to be a burial ground.
Stonehenge has been included in multiple mythologies, including that of the Arthurian legend where it’s said that Merlin helped construct the site. However it’s also been said that the Devil bought what’s known as the “heel stone” from a woman in Ireland. All we really know is that they're truly majestic to see in person.
Two young, sleepy explorers make the Chicago papers back in 1952.
Ah, to be young and on the town in the 1950s. These two young men were found by the Chicago police while they zipped through the city on the L train in the middle of the night. According to the paper, the two boys would sneak out of their respective homes at bed time before hopping on the train to see the sites.
The boys weren’t in serious trouble, but they were picked up by the police and had their parents called - which might as well be akin to spending time in the big house when you’re a youngster.
Workers take a break during the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, 1959.
If you’ve ever been down to New Zealand then you’ve driven across the Aukland Harbor Bridge, an eight lane bridge that’s nearly a mile long and 142 feet above the ocean. The bridge began construction in 1956 and was finished in 1959, but in that time the workers went on strike twice, which heavily slowed down the construction.
Even with the two strikes, the bridge was still finished weeks ahead of time. Initially the bridge was a toll bridge, but by 1984 the tolls were abandoned and now it’s free and clear so start up your engines and speed on over to The Shire at your convenience.
Beautiful photo of Dolly Parton from the 1980s.
Dolly Parton has always been a magnificent beauty, and while she got her start in country music in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, she didn’t ascend to the heights of pop stardom until the ‘80s when she recorded the theme song to 9 to 5. After that single went to the top of the charts Parton continued to rule pop music with songs like “Islands in the Stream” and “Tennessee Homesick Blues.”
During this time she also starred in films like 9 to 5 and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - a role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for best actress. Long live Dolly!
Captain Nemo’s nautilus car from the film "The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen."
Fans of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen will get a kick out of this. The car driven by Captain Nemo (Naseeruddin Shah) may seem like it’s an impossible creation of a production designer, but you can actually own it if you’ve got enough dough. Like, $25,000 worth of dough.
The car was designed by Carol Spier and it’s 22 feet long and has six wheels. The radio, clock, and accouterments are fitted with ornately designed silver and it’s got elephant heads where the headlights go. It’s legitimately a really cool looking car, but we’re not sure how you’d actually drive around in it.
Michelin Tires advertisement from the early 1900s.
No, this isn’t a still from 1950s B-Science Fiction movie, it’s actually an early Michelin Tires ad starring an early iteration of the Michelin Man, the tire creature who’s appeared in advertisements since 1898. Since then the character has appeared in ads across mediums and in France during the early 20th century he was less a spokesperson and more of a folk hero.
The character made his way across the world, and as tires became thicker so did the Michelin Man. To this day, if you see the character in a seasonal ad overseas, the colder it gets the more clothes he wears.
The rush hour traffic in New York City in 1909.
New York City has never been an easy city for people to travel through, and there’s a good chance that if you go there today you’ll run into similar traffic. However, in 1909 the streets of the city that never sleeps were jam packed with every kind of means of travel that you can imagine - street cars, trucks full of wood, horses, and even a couple of modern (for the time) automobiles.
To make more room for the sheer amount of vehicles on the street the local government shaved 15 feet from the sidewalk in order to make room for all the cars. Still, it’s not as if this “fix” took care of the traffic in the city once and for all.
The Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island in South Carolina is over 1500 Years old!
What’s this magical looking tree? Was it placed on Earth by a fairy? Actually, it’s one of the oldest living plants east of the Mississippi River. The Angel Oak tree in Charleston, SC is 65 street tall and its nearly 28 feet around. The branches, which stretch out like statuesque octopus arms, reach out for incredible lengths. The longest one stretches out to 187 feet.
The tree is somewhere between 400 and 500 years old, and it’s survived storms, lightning, and even a hurricane. The tree is owned by the City of Charleston and it’s absolutely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
Two young Dutch men in traditional dress, 1900s.
When we think about the clothing choices of the Dutch we tend to focus on the clogs, those wooden shoes that look like something a chubby footed elf would wear. But we don’t focus enough on the large pants worn by Dutch nationalists. The guys in this photo are wearing the standard loose fitting dark trousers, and it’s unclear if these trousers served a purpose or if they just looked cool.
The greatest thing about these outfits are the double breasted shirts that the men are wearing. You don’t see these around anymore, and it’s shame because they’re really something. Let’s bring these back guys.