Below are two wonderful images from about 1905 that I found at Shorpy.com, an historical photo archive website. On the left is Highbridge Park and the Harlem River Speedway (the Harlem River Drive today) and dominating the center is the beautiful Washington Bridge. I love the carriages!
I’ve found and added a number of different paintings and photographs of the Harlem River Valley into my archives, but until only a couple of days ago I hadn’t thought much about postcards as sources. It turns out that postcards are great sources! They offer a historically accurate but also popular representation of each subject. They are also fun to look at. Below are a few of these postcards from the early 20th century. Stay tuned for more.
Here’s a fantastic new find! It’s a wonderful illustrated view of the Harlem River reportedly from Fort George, which was the site of a popular amusement park that bore its name. Beginning in the foreground is the Washington Bridge and then, continuing south is the High Bridge, followed by what I believe is the no-longer extant Putnam Bridge, and ending with the distant Macombs Dam Bridge. King’s View of New York was one of several popular guidebooks by editor and publisher, Moses King, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This image was reprinted in color and sold as postcards too!
Here are two more fascinating photographs of athletic competitions at and nearby the Harlem River during the turn of the last century. Amazing images!
In my extensive research of the Harlem River, I have learned a lot about its role in the political, economic, and social history of New York City. At the same time, I’ve also made a concerted effort to learn about its artistic history (not surprisingly). How have artists – both past and present – tried to represent this part of of the city? As a photographer, it’s surprising that I hadn’t thought to explore how past photographers (in particular those from the late 19th and early 20th centuries) answered this question. Until this epiphany, I had focused solely on painters, illustrators, sketch artists, and others of which there are many. I’ll write more about this in a future post. Photography, however, was added into the mix after I stumbled upon this remarkable photograph – High Bridge and Washington Bridge (1890) by William Henry Jackson – online. Romantic and grand, this image by Jackson is a gem. All that I know about Jackson so far is from what I found on Wikipedia, so I’m curious to …