Stunning Images from America's Urban Past

Independence Day is a day to reflect on America's history; and with many of the activities associated with the holiday (parades, fireworks) set on urban stages, it's the perfect occasion to enjoy some amazing images of the country's urban past.
George R. Lawrence / Library of Congress

Chicago Magazine has published a slideshow of 34 remarkable panoramic images taken by photographer George R. Lawrence over a century ago. Lawrence was "an early pioneer in aerial photography, whose company motto was 'the hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty,'" writes Whet Moser. Many of the aerial photographs seen in the slideshow were taken via a system of kites called the "Lawrence Captive Airship": "a kite train of up to 17 Conyne kites on a piano wire cable suspending a camera held by the specially designed stabilizing mechanism."

Images include a striking view of Chicago's Union Stock Yards, photographs of San Francisco in ruins following the 1906 earthquake, and a couple of images taken in Chicago on this date in 1908 (the International Ballooning Contest) and 1910 (the United States Army tournament).

Full Story: 34 Amazing Photos of American Cities From 100 Years Ago


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.