Amazing Aerial Photographs of Great American Cities Circa 1906

sf 1906

Click images to enlarge

In the late 19th cen­tu­ry, an enter­pris­ing pho­tog­ra­ph­er named George R. Lawrence devel­oped a keen inter­est in aer­i­al pho­tog­ra­phy. He first began tak­ing pic­tures with the help of high lad­ders, tow­ers, and air­borne bal­loons. Lat­er he switched to using unmanned kites, which did the trick. Deploy­ing 17 Conyne kites strung togeth­er by piano wire, Lawrence hoist­ed a hulk­ing, 50 pound cam­era some 400 to 2,000 feet above the ground and then began cap­tur­ing views of Amer­i­can cities. Most of these urban cen­ters were grow­ing at a steady clip. But, in his most famous pho­to­graph, Lawrence cap­tured San Fran­cis­co reel­ing after the dev­as­ta­tion of the 1906 earth­quake. (Click the image above to see the lev­eled city in a larg­er for­mat.)

New York Lawrence

A col­lec­tion of Lawrence’s panoram­ic pho­tographs can be viewed over at the Library of Con­gress web site. The col­lec­tion includes bird’s-eye views of Man­hat­tan (above) and a more sleepy Brook­lyn, not to men­tion some great Mid­west­ern cities and towns. Below you can see a vin­tage shot of The Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go cam­pus cir­ca 1904. Or here Evanston’s North­west­ern cam­pus in 1907. And let’s not for­get this 1908 pho­to of Madi­son, WI, where I spent my most for­ma­tive years some eight decades lat­er.…

u chicago aerial

via @MatthiasRascher and Dai­ly Mail

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The 1906 San Fran­cis­co Earth­quake: Before and After

Berlin Street Scenes Beau­ti­ful­ly Caught on Film (1900–1914)

1927 Lon­don Shown in Mov­ing Col­or

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