Blasts from the Past

Some of you may know that when I’m not living the high-flying, glamorous life of a bicycle blogger, I spend my days as a reference librarian in the local public library system. One of the benefits of my job is that I’m exposed to all manner of cool informational artifacts…and one of my favorites is old photographs.

The library system where I work is blessed with a fantastic collection of old photos from the Burgert Brothers Photographic Studio, a commercial outfit that captured life in Tampa and the surrounding communities from 1899 until the early 1960s. Our library owns about about 15000 images from this prolific studio and the subjects range from buildings to festivals, people of importance and many other aspects of city life. You can read more about the collection by clicking here.

While browsing through the collection the other day, I ran across two photos I wanted to share with you. The first is titled, ” Students crossing street at school crossing zone on Memorial Highway west of Gomez Avenue : Tampa, Fla.” This photo is from 1952:

(Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)

The second is titled, ” Messenger boys lined up with their bicycles in front of the Western Union office at 604 Franklin Street: Tampa, Fla.” This photo is from 1921:

(Courtesy, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System)

It’s pretty cool to see a slice of life from our fair city’s past…and bikes were an important part of that life back then.


  1. ksteinhoff

    Even better than finding old public pictures of folks on bikes is running across old pix of your family on bikes.

  2. Aaron

    Did bike messengers all ride fixies back then too 🙂

  3. LockMaster Jeff

    It is a shame that so many schools today prohibit students from cycling to school.

  4. Raiyn

    Is there any way to get desktop sized versions?

  5. Ghost Rider


    technically, yes — but it normally necessitates a trip to downtown Tampa or a series of phone calls. PM me if you’re interested and I’ll see what I can do…I don’t work with the collection directly anymore, but might be able to get you something.

    There are other old photos with bicycles, too…and lots of other amazing images. Worth a look!

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