Art Deco Architecture

The Old Modern - Then and Now

Posts tagged american history

21 notes &

Cermak Mausoleum, Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago, IllinoisPhoto by Mark Susina
Egyptian-style Deco mausoleum.
From Flickr:

Mayor Anton Cermak Mausoleum - Bohemian National Cemetery - Chicago 
Anton Cermak was mayor of Chicago, and was murdered in 1933. He was shot by an assassin who allegedly intended to kill Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the president elect of the United States. He’s buried in this art deco style mausoleum.

Cermak Mausoleum, Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Photo by Mark Susina

Egyptian-style Deco mausoleum.

From Flickr:

Mayor Anton Cermak Mausoleum - Bohemian National Cemetery - Chicago 

Anton Cermak was mayor of Chicago, and was murdered in 1933. He was shot by an assassin who allegedly intended to kill Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the president elect of the United States. He’s buried in this art deco style mausoleum.

Filed under anton cermak chicago chicago history mausoleum art deco american history

39 notes &

1930s-40s in Color

Click the link for a great, great set of images available online thanks to the Library of Congress.

Sharing this not because it’s Deco architecture but because it’s images of America from the 30s and 40s in color, which for many is a real eye-opener, making those times much more real and the people more relatable. It’s also a way to be aware that while all these swanky movies theaters were up and running and great skyscrapers being built, millions of Americans were living on subsistence, as migrant workers, sharecroppers, and living in shacks with no water, electricity or heat. (Which is why the 1939/40 World’s Fair’s image of a shiny future America without want was so popular!)

Anyway, enjoy the images!

-Wendy

Filed under 1940s 1930s american history library of congress farm security administration office of war information great depression

15 notes &

Roosevelt was born Jan. 30, 1882.
pastperfect-online:

Happy belated birthday, FDR! Yesterday marked the 32nd President’s 131st birthday. The four-term P.O.T.U.S. is best known for his New Deal plan during the Great Depression and his leadership during World War II. Despite losing the use of his legs at age 39 after a battle with Polio, Roosevelt is remembered for his sense of humor and optimism.  
This Roosevelt campaign poster from 1936 can be found in the online collection of the Kentucky Historical Society.
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Roosevelt was born Jan. 30, 1882.

pastperfect-online:

Happy belated birthday, FDR! Yesterday marked the 32nd President’s 131st birthday. The four-term P.O.T.U.S. is best known for his New Deal plan during the Great Depression and his leadership during World War II. Despite losing the use of his legs at age 39 after a battle with Polio, Roosevelt is remembered for his sense of humor and optimism.  

This Roosevelt campaign poster from 1936 can be found in the online collection of the Kentucky Historical Society.

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Filed under franklin delano roosevelt roosevelt fdr 1930s 1936 politics american politics american history new deal great depression world war ii wwii

407 notes &

This photo has been reproduced a billion times, almost never with any context. I know a doctor who has this framed on the wall of his office. So now you know: RCA Building (GE Building, 30 Rock), 1932, photo by Charles C. Ebbets.
dustinkunze9239:

“Lunch atop a Skyscraper” 
Known as “New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam”,  The photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 840 feet above the New York City streets. The men have no safety harness, which was linked to the Great Depression, when people were willing to take any job regardless of safety issues. The photo was taken on September 20, 1932 on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. Men are talking and smoking while taking out their lunch boxes and generally not paying any special attention to the unusual setting.  The relaxed state of the construction workers paired with the backdrop of New York City has captivated viewers ever since it was first popularized. I love this photograph because it shows the dedication that these men had to build the skyscrapers of New York City. The overcast day gave the set a perfect example of diffused light. Wonderful photograph that captured one of most famous photographs during the Great Depression.   
Photograph by Charles C. Ebbets 

This photo has been reproduced a billion times, almost never with any context. I know a doctor who has this framed on the wall of his office. So now you know: RCA Building (GE Building, 30 Rock), 1932, photo by Charles C. Ebbets.

dustinkunze9239:

“Lunch atop a Skyscraper” 

Known as “New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam”,  The photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling 840 feet above the New York City streets. The men have no safety harness, which was linked to the Great Depression, when people were willing to take any job regardless of safety issues. The photo was taken on September 20, 1932 on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. Men are talking and smoking while taking out their lunch boxes and generally not paying any special attention to the unusual setting.  The relaxed state of the construction workers paired with the backdrop of New York City has captivated viewers ever since it was first popularized. I love this photograph because it shows the dedication that these men had to build the skyscrapers of New York City. The overcast day gave the set a perfect example of diffused light. Wonderful photograph that captured one of most famous photographs during the Great Depression.   

Photograph by Charles C. Ebbets 

(via dustinkunze9239-deactivated2013)

Filed under construction nyc new york city manhattan construction workers lunch great depression 1930s 1932 charles ebbets black and white history american history rockefeller center

30 notes &

Decidedly NOT Deco, but still, Happy Birthday to NYC’s Grand Central!
From today’s NY Times  article, "100 Years of GrandeurL The Birth of Grand Central Terminal":

One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central. Here, the tale of its birth, excerpted from “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” by Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, to be published later this month by Grand Central Publishing.

Photo credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Decidedly NOT Deco, but still, Happy Birthday to NYC’s Grand Central!

From today’s NY Times  article, "100 Years of GrandeurL The Birth of Grand Central Terminal":

One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central. Here, the tale of its birth, excerpted from “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” by Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, to be published later this month by Grand Central Publishing.

Photo credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Filed under grand central station train station railroad station nyc new york city manhattan new york history preservation grand central terminal history architecture american history neoclassicism

5 notes &

U.S. Courthouse and Post Office, Meridian, MississippiPhoto by James Patterson for The New York Times 
Noticed this news item in the NY Times:
Last Chapter for a Court With a Place in History

Even on a steamy humdrum Thursday afternoon, this city’s stately federal courtroom looks like the kind of place where momentous things could happen, as they once did. The legal campaign to integrate the University of Mississippi got under way here in May 1961, and it was here that a local posse of Klansmen who murdered three civil rights workers faced justice at the hands of their neighbors, the first time that had happened in Mississippi….
The 79-year-old building itself is not closing. Meridian’s main post office still takes up the ground floor, and residents would not let that go without a fight. But as in so many downtowns throughout the country, the central outpost that once reminded everyone that there was a federal government at work has over time been stripped of its purpose.

U.S. Courthouse and Post Office, Meridian, Mississippi
Photo by James Patterson for The New York Times 

Noticed this news item in the NY Times:

Last Chapter for a Court With a Place in History

Even on a steamy humdrum Thursday afternoon, this city’s stately federal courtroom looks like the kind of place where momentous things could happen, as they once did. The legal campaign to integrate the University of Mississippi got under way here in May 1961, and it was here that a local posse of Klansmen who murdered three civil rights workers faced justice at the hands of their neighbors, the first time that had happened in Mississippi….

The 79-year-old building itself is not closing. Meridian’s main post office still takes up the ground floor, and residents would not let that go without a fight. But as in so many downtowns throughout the country, the central outpost that once reminded everyone that there was a federal government at work has over time been stripped of its purpose.

Filed under courthouse post office meridian mississippi 1933 1930s architecture art deco judicial history civil rights american history

2 notes &

While I’m sharing some pictures of Atlanta’s past, thought I’d share some videos as well, like this 18-min. one on the New South of the 1950s. This documentary includes footage from Georgia at Louisiana, I can see, and probably other states. I gather from the second half of this show that Southern Bell was the sponsor.

Note the remarks about existing facilities having to be enlarged and things redone in the rush to progress. Many, many historic Atlanta buildings were lost in the 1950s. And of course note the bit about building the suburbs.

And there’s so much more in this video! Female auto workers, the Savannah River atomic plant, vintage transportation, telephone cable installation, phone operators, for example. (Also there’s so much not shown, like say, any black people.)

Filed under 1950s american history atlanta atlanta history georgia georgia history history industrial history industrialism industry new south vintage shipping railroad trains diesel trains airline history vintage transportation savannah savannah river project american south atomic energy factories vintage military southern bell telephone progress telecommunications documentary 1954

7 notes &

Buoying up the pleasures and frivolities of the ’20s was the most spectacular economic boom the country had ever seen. If some Americans felt disillusionment over politics or religion, they could find solace in a new faith based on the omnipotence of the dollar. Materialism flourished like an evangelical cult, as the country placed its faith in the supreme importance of automobiles and washing machines. If not everyone was growing rich, people felt that the chances for becoming rich were getting better every day. During the period from 1921 to 1929, the gross national product soared from $74 billion or $104.4 billion. The buying power of wages for a skilled laborer swelled 50 percent from 1913 to 1927. Bricklayers’ wives began to spruce up their wardrobes with silk stockings and white gloves. Their husbands began riding about in Niagara Blue roadsters or Arabian Sand phaetons.

This Fabulous Century: 1920-1930
by Editors of Time-Life Books

The 1930s were bleak coming after the 1920s and the highs set there (and lows that were largely hidden). Seem familiar to anyone?

Filed under 1920s 20s roaring twenties roaring 20s history american history economic history economics

26 notes &

From Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein:

In product design they used materials like chrome, plastic, and aluminum, not the precious materials of early Deco; they oversaw the transition of elegance from the luxury market to the wider world of ordinary consumption. In the process they became figures of vast cultural influence as well as commercial wizards who, in a stagnant economy, could somehow sell products that exuded elegance, optimism, and energy.

It was one thing to use a sheath of metal to give an aerodynamic look to the sleek locomotive of the new Twentieth Century Limited. It was quite another to give the same look to farm equipment or to a household iron, a pencil sharpener, or a cigarette lighter, associating them too with the aesthetics of the machine, the modern, the thrust toward a utopian future.

Working with curved lines, they used bullet shapes to suggest dynamic force and teardrop shapes to imply graceful flow. They could make a teapot look like Aladdin’s lamp and give rounded, futuristic lines to a toaster, a mixmaster, or the Bakelite portable radios that could be found in every modest American home when I was a kid in the 1940s.

These new industrial products and their designs paved the way for the postwar world by democratizing consumption itself.

Photos: 1930s toasters, all pulled from eBay.

Filed under dancing in the dark morris dickstein great depression 1930s art history industrial design consumerism history american history 1940s toasters design