Anorak News | The world’s oldest aerial photograph – Boston 1860

The world’s oldest aerial photograph – Boston 1860

by | 28th, July 2019

boston 1860s

This picture of Boston shows us the city from 2,000 feet in 1860. Taken from a hot air balloon, the image is the oldest surviving aerial photo.

The Met:

Best known for his photographs of Boston after the devasting fire of 1872, Black launched his solo career in 1860 with the production of a series of aerial photographs taken from Samuel King’s hot-air balloon the “Queen of the Air.”

… Black’s photographs caught the attention of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a poet and professor of medicine at Harvard, who gave this photograph its title. In July 1863, Holmes wrote in the “Atlantic Monthly”: “Boston, as the eagle and wild goose see it, is a very different object from the same place as the solid citizen looks up at its eaves and chimneys. The Old South and Trinity Church are two landmarks not to be mistaken. Washington Street slants across the picture as a narrow cleft. Milk Street winds as if the old cowpath which gave it a name had been followed by the builders of its commercial palaces. Windows, chimneys, and skylights attract the eye in the central parts of the view, exquisitely defined, bewildering in numbers…. As a first attempt it is on the whole a remarkable success; but its greatest interest is in showing what we may hope to see accomplished in the same direction.”

Spotter: Smithsonian, Flashbak

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Posted: 28th, July 2019 | In: In Pictures, Key Posts, Strange But True Comment | TrackBack | Permalink