The way it was: Rare colour photographs of Main Street in the 1940s capture the cafes, general stores and corner shops that were the heartbeat of small town America
A nostalgic collection of photographs has offered a fascinating glimpse of the American Main Street in the early 1940s.
As the nation recovered from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and prepared for World War II, Main Street was a place where communities came together and the entrepreneurial spirit was able to flourish.
The romantic pictures, from a range of rare 1930s and 1940s shots on the Library Of Congress” Flickr gallery of vivid color photography, show family-run stores and cafes lining dusty suburban streets.
Eagle Fruit Store and Capital Hotel, Lincoln, Nebraska in 1942
They capture old-fashioned cars parked out front bars, drug stores and general stores and the town”s residents going about their daily lives, which often centred around the iconic hub.
The photographs show some of America”s most loved brands, including Coca Cola, Rice Krispies and 7UP,advertised in shop windows, and fresh produce including oranges and potatoes selling for as little as 1c.
Before there was a Walmart on every corner and suburban malls inhabited most of the nations cities and towns, these photographs show Main Street as it always was, and in some places still is — the heartbeat of small town America.
Boys looking at store window display of toys at Christmas time in either 1941 or 1942
Cars and American flags line the main street of Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1942
Main Street at the mouth of Willow Creek Canyon, Creede, Colorado, in December 1942
A store in Natchez, Mississippi, advertises Coca-Cola, Orange-Crush, Royal Crown, Double Cola, and Dr Pepper
Farmers and townspeople gather outside “Tyler”s Place” on Court day in, Campton, Kentucky around 1940
A collection of photos from circa the 1940″s America collection on the Library of Congress Flickr page
On the main street of Cascade, Idaho, in July 1941
A street corner in Brockton, Massachusetts, in January 1941
Grand Grocery Co., Lincoln, Nebraska in 1942 shows Rice Krispies cereal boxes in window below oranges
Grocery store operated by C.A. Long, Main and High streets, Mount Orab, Ohio, in either 1942 or 1943
Main Street, Pie Town, New Mexico, in October 1940
Laundry, barbershop and stores, Washington, D.C. between 1941 and 1942
Filling station and garage at Pie Town, New Mexico, in October 1940