Dwight Manufacturing Company, Chicopee Mass (1)

Employees of the Dwight Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Mass, in November 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Child Labor Committee Collection.

132_1911-11 loc

The same scene in 2014:

132_2014-03

This photo was one of many taken in Chicopee by noted photographer Lewis Hine, during his travels across the United States documenting child labor issues.  Photographing for the National Child Labor Committee, his photographs are now available through the Library of Congress, so I decided to try to re-create some of his Chicopee photos.

This one is probably my favorite, because the scene can be re-created so perfectly; the brick walls, the “1894” on the granite pillar, and even the wrought iron gates are still there.  At the time that the photographs were taken, the factory belonged to the Dwight Manufacturing Company; it was part of a sprawling complex of factories and boarding houses along the Chicopee River, and many of the buildings still exist today, including the main entrance, which is surprisingly unchanged over 100 years later.

Hine identified the young man on the left as Stanislaus Fabara, writing this as the caption of the photo:

Watchman Stanislaus Fabara, 59 Exchange St. Works in cloth room. The day before he gave me his name as Frank Fabara and today said it was wrong. “We give wrong names when we think trouble is coming.” Two other boys here acknowledge giving me wrong names also. Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Empire State Building (4)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

New York

The view in 2011:

097_2011

Probably the most famous photo of the construction of the Empire State Building (and not to be confused with the staged photo of construction workers eating lunch on a beam atop the Rockefeller Center), one of the most dramatic elements of this photo is the contrast between the old worker and the new progress of the Empire State Building.  Also interesting about it is the Chrysler Building, which had previously been the tallest building in the world, now looking small and insignificant in the shadow of the new title holder.

Empire State Building (3)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

096_1931-2Bnypl

The view in 2011:

096_2011

The caption of the first photo is “Icarus, high up on Empire State.”  However, this worker, thankfully, did not have his wings (cable?) melt.  Both photos show some of the changes in the area looking north of the Empire State Building, toward the Upper West Side, the Hudson River, and New Jersey beyond it.  The only readily-identifiable building from both photos is the large white building in the lower right corner of the 931 photo – it is barely noticeable in the same area of the 2011 photo.

Empire State Building (2)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

095_1931-2Bnypl

The same view in 2011:

095_2011

These historic photos, which capture the human element of the construction of the Empire State Building, also show how much midtown New York has changed in the past 80 years.  One prominent landmark that didn’t even exist in 1931 was the Rockefeller Center, whose construction was just beginning when the first photo was taken.  It is now easily visible in the upper center of the 2011 photo.

Empire State Building (1)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

094_1931-2Bnypl

The same view in 2011:

094_2011

The view from atop the Empire State Building, looking north toward the Upper West Side and the Hudson River.  Central Park is seen prominently in the 1931 photo, but it is barely visible 80 years later, as the increasing height of the skyscrapers has all but blocked it from view.