Answers to Mysteries

Here we collect answers to questions we had about mystery photos. Now these photos are no mysteries any longer ...

Antworten auf
Rätsel und Geheimnisse


We did not need to wait long to receive an answer to our question which place is depicted in this photo. Many thanks to Nigel Aspdin for sending a very detailed and helpful answer.
See below:


Its not England for sure, (unless the photographer mucked up the image on printing!) as everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road, as indeed the Europeans still do. My immediate reaction to the photo did not concentrate on the matters Album1900 had chosen to zoom, but I selected two items. Firstly a facade at the top of the photo at the very end of the street. A railway terminus, I felt sure, with a huge arched glass front window in the gable. So I felt I must look at major European city rail termini, and I agreed with Album1900 it had the feel of a north European city. Secondly, the 4 metre tower on the pavement to the left, covered in advertising posters. (I wish I knew what these towers were for and what they are called. I wonder if they were sewer ventilation?). My immediate reaction to this was "Paris". The street certainly has the feel of Paris, the good order set out by Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the vast redevelopment of Paris. This view has all three elements of Haussman's plans for Paris, uniform building heights, grand boulevards, and anchoring elements (the station facade in this view). A quick look at the mainline stations showed Gare de L'Est as the most likley candidate:


I believe the original camera position was looking north north east at the terminus facade,1,450metres away, north north east up Boulevard de Sebastopol and Boulevard de Strasbourg, and taken from the west side of Boulevard de Sebastopol, just south of Rue Greneta.
This is the Google Earth position:


The large and high arched roof with cupola in the centre of the top block in the above picture is clearly visible in the old photograph. Below is a Google Streetview photo looking north north east, taken approximately where the original photo was taken, and the tower with advertising posters., still there !


And moving up Boulevard de Sebastopol a few metres the building on the right can be matched with the old photo corner building that had a corner awning.


Swinging round to the right, and looking up in Google Streetview, evidence of the particular second floor window detail can be matched with the original photo as follows:


I don't think there is much doubt that this is the location! Nigel Aspdin. Derby, UK.

Thank you, Nigel!

Below are some comments we received previously:

-Fascinating image. I have no way of knowing, but it does not look American to me. I would guess that it was Continental. The buildings have a French or perhaps Belgian look to me. But I have no expertise on architecture. One rather strange thing from my point of view is what happened to the left side of the picture. I think it strange that that only one side of the street is developed. Could it be an ocean front? Or perhaps it is a very wide avenue.

-I have no idea where this picture was taken, but the street seems to be unpaved - i.e. dirt with ruts and ridges. Is the largest horse-drawn vehicle like a van or bus for carrying a number of people? Is there luggage piled on the top? It's hard to be sure but the left side of the street seems to have no high buildings. Maybe near a park or a beach?

-What a great photo... Seems to have the tall hats of the 1860s but cabinet cards were at earliest 1870s, so perhaps c.1874 - a guess. No idea where.

Thank you to all, who sent their comments!


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