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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- These recently digitized photochroms join many more that are available online. View the more than 7,000 photochroms in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- Learn more about the photochrom process which combines elements of photography and printmaking.
- Browse through the photochroms we have shared in the Library’s Flickr account, where Flickr members have provided more clues about the background and fate of many of the sites depicted!
- Prints & Photographs Division was lucky enough to have Leslie Granillo’s help because of the Library’s annual Junior Fellows program. Learn more about the program.