The View from Mr. Clay's Monument
A monument to Henry Clay was erected at the intersection of Canal Street and
St. Charles Avenue in 1860.  Mr. Clay was a politician and orator of national
prominence who represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate and House.
But this page isn't about Mr. Clay's monument -- it's about the scenery in
the background.  The statue was popular with photographers and that's
provided us with some great views of Canal Street between 1880-1900.
In 1895, the base of the statue was cut back to accommodate the electric
streetcars installed at that time.  Mr. Clay's tenure on Canal Street ended in
1901, when the statue was moved to Lafayette Park, where it remains today.
My favorite is the one above, ca. 1880's, with horse-drawn streetcar and ad for
the opera,
Il Trovatore, which was being performed at the French Opera House.
This photo was taken between 1895-1901, after a portion of the base was removed.  In the
background on left, you can see the distinctive turret of Feibleman department store (open
1897-1931 -- the building was used as by the USO during WWII; it was demolished in 1949); in
background on right, the dome of the original Maison Blanche department store building.
The names of some Canal Street businesses are visible in this 1880's photo:
Moody's Shirts, Washburn's Photography & Fine Art Gallery, J. A. Walker, Duhamel's
Spectacle, Optical, Mathematical & Marine Instruments, Tyne's Jewelry.  The building
on the corner was designed by Germain Musson, grandfather of artist Edgar Dugas.
A better view of Feibleman's in the center background and, on the next street
corner, the turret of the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club is visible.  The Club
housed the records and relics of chess champion Paul Morphy, until the
building's contents were destroyed by a fire in 1890.
Since 1901, Mr. Clay's statue has resided in Lafayette Square, in the
Central Business District.  Shown above, Mr. Clay -- with lots of visitors
enjoying a "Wednesday-at-the-Park" event, with music and refreshments.
The photo directly above is courtesy of Infrogmation @ Wikimedia Commons.

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