If vintage photographs don’t allow us to actually experience the past, they at least let us have a glimpse of it. Some of the rarest antique photos are the panoramas which required special cameras to make them.
There have been many different types of panoramic cameras with different capabilities. The images I like the best were made by the cameras that could take a 360 degree photo. A full circle.
We are extremely fortunate to have in our collection the panoramic photo featured in this post. It is a full 360 degree view of the intersection of Sutton and Hazel taken in 1930. Parts of it will be familiar to the regular viewers of this blog as I have cropped it as needed to illustrate different posts.
We are in debt to the generosity of Mary Harper Hall, descendant of the Harper’s Pharmacy folks, who gave us the print that now is in the collection of the Maplewood Public Library.
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The print is 4 inches high by 41 inches long. It is what is known as a contact print and is the exact size as the film that it was made from. Long ago I saw this same print as well as another by the photographer whose name I have now forgotten in the Carondelet Historical Society’s collection in their building on Michigan. So if anyone reading this should find their way down there, take a picture of them both and get that photographer’s name, will ya’?
As you might expect this is not the best forum to view a photograph 41 inches long. I have chopped it up with enough overlap that hopefully the viewer will be able to get a pretty good idea of what this looks like. If not let me know and I’ll email you a higher resolution version.
Ta dah! Can’t tell much from that, can you?
Going from left to right, this first section shows the first house on Maple just west of Sutton and a picket fence that once bordered the Maplewood Loop. A lot of folks refer to it as the Sutton Loop today but I’m not going to. I don’t think that was ever its name in the past.
The second section shows the Maplewood Loop Depot exactly (near as I can tell) on the spot occupied today by our beloved streetcar shelter recently the source of much discussion.
The third section is looking north up Sutton. Visible on the left is the turreted building once the first home of the Harper’s Pharmacy now home to the Orbit Lounge. The Cape-Harper building can be seen on the right along with the first Bettendorf’s store just to the north.
The fourth section is a better view of the Cape-Harper building with Harper’s Pharmacy in full bloom. The room once occupied by the pharmacy just recently lost its historic cabinetry (see previous posts).
The fifth section is looking east down Maple. The building on the left still exists.
The sixth section affords a view long unseen of the homes that once occupied the space where an apartment building now stands. I suspect the well-dressed gentleman in the middle of the street is the photographer.
The seventh and last section is looking south on Sutton. The same house is visible at each end of the photograph. The building advertises Barbe-Q. It is now home to Krodinger Realty. The brick barbecue pit sans chimney can still be seen along the sidewalk . Regular viewers of this space may remember that Harper’s Pharmacy gradually morphed into a full time camera store. I suspect this photographer (possibly salesman) may have been demonstrating equipment to the Harpers. If you have a better theory, let’s hear it.
This image I pulled from a reproduced manual I found on the internet. This is very likely the kind of camera that made the image. It contained a clockwork mechanism that when wound and released using a gear in the top of the tripod simultaneously rotated the entire camera as it wound the roll of film past the aperture. The result was amazingly sharp photos.