Buildings that No Longer Exist: Photochroms of a Bygone Time

The following is a guest post by Leslie Granillo, a Junior Fellow in the Prints & Photographs Division, Summer 2017

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wonderful collection of Photochroms. Going through them has been like taking a vacation through Europe, with the added advantage of being able to travel back in time to the 1890s and 1900s! I got to see so many stunning buildings, but while researching to create catalog records, I discovered that some of the places I was looking at no longer existed. Here I’ve highlighted a few, but be sure to dig through the Photochrom collection to see what else is out there!

Royal Palace, Berlin, Germany

The Royal Palace, or Berlin Palace, was originally built in the 15th century but additions were made until 1845. In World War II, the Palace was heavily bombed and largely burnt-out. Although portions of the building remained standing and were used for exhibitions, in 1950 the German Democratic Republic decided to demolish the structure. Other structures subsequently occupied portions of the site, but in the past few years, after much discussion, a new building is being built on the site that will replicate the façade of the old palace.

Berlin. Bildergallerie im Königlichen Schlosse. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52517

Berlin. Bildergallerie im Königlichen Schlosse. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52517

Berlin. Thronsaal im Königlichen Schlosse. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52519

Berlin. Thronsaal im Königlichen Schlosse. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52519

Pellerhaus and Courtyard, Nuremberg, Germany

The Pellerhaus in Nuremberg was one of the most important Renaissance Burgher houses in Germany. It was built in 1605 and had a noted Renaissance façade and courtyard. In World War II, all but the ground floor was destroyed by bomb attacks. In the mid-1950s, it was rebuilt as a five-story, multi-purpose building incorporating preserved remains in contemporary forms. The historic courtyard is currently undergoing reconstruction.

Nürnberg. Pellerhaus. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52600

Nürnberg. Pellerhaus. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52600

Nürnberg. Pellerhof. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52599

Nürnberg. Pellerhof. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52599

Royal Opera House, Valleta, Malta

The Royal Opera House was built in 1866, and less than ten years later its interior was destroyed in a fire. The building was restored by 1877. In 1942, the opera house suffered a direct hit during World War II, and what remained of the structure was leveled for safety reasons. In 2013 an open-air theatre named Pjazza Teatru Rjal was built among the ruins.

 Malta. Teatro Reale. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52657

Malta. Teatro Reale. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52657

Trans-Mississippi Exposition Buildings, Omaha, Nebraska

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was held in Omaha in 1898. More than 2.6 million people came to see this World’s Fair, and 21 classical buildings were built to house the exhibitions. They were designed to be temporary, and were built around a lagoon that featured gondolas and swan boats. By 1899 all buildings were demolished or removed, and the lagoon filled in. Today it is the site of Kountze Park.

Grand Court, Looking West. Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Photochrom by Detroit Photographic Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52914

Grand Court, Looking West. Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Photochrom by Detroit Photographic Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52914

Grand Court, Night Illumination. Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Photo by Detroit Photographic Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52916

Grand Court, Night Illumination. Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Photo by Detroit Photographic Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52916

Neptune's Fountain. Photochrom by Detroit Photographic Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52914

Neptune’s Fountain. Photochrom by Detroit Photographic Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52914

Delft Gate, Rotterdam, Netherlands

The Delft Gate in Rotterdam was a city gate. It was destroyed during World War II in 1940. Fifty years later, a steel frame was designed to commemorate the gate, and some of the sculpted elements of the original have been incorporated into the reconstruction.

 Rotterdam. La Porte de Delft. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52698

Rotterdam. La Porte de Delft. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1890 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52698

Church of the Archangel Michael, Warsaw, Poland

The Church of the Archangel Michael was built in Warsaw in 1894. It was a military church built to meet the needs of Russian troops in Warsaw, in particular a Lithuanian regiment stationed in the area. After World War I, the Russian troops left Warsaw and the church was abandoned. It fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1923.

Varsovie. Eglise Russe. Warszawa. C.P. Iew Prawoslawna. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1894 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52707

Varsovie. Eglise Russe. Warszawa. C.P. Iew Prawoslawna. Photochrom by Photoglob Co., between 1894 and 1906. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.52707

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One Comment

  1. Helen
    August 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Many thanks for this look into the past. The pictures of the Royal Palace that was, in Berlin, was particularly striking for me. I was in Berlin in 1994 as part of a U.S. team assisting the then German phone service operated by the Post Office (now Deutsche Telecom) to put phone service into what had been East Berlin. The whole of the city east of Friedrich Strasse was under scaffolding. The Unter Den Linden Strasse was a quiet place with a fake cloth facade depicting the former Palace, covering the GDR building that had replace the Royal Palace. Berlin looks completely different now; I didn’t recognize it in 2010.

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