Photo Mystery Monday: October 26, 2015

This is one in a series of posts inviting our users to learn how to get the most information out of historic photos. We’ll post a new photo mystery every Monday, and then follow up with more information about the image on Friday. Get the conversation started by commenting on the blog and sharing it with your friends and family.

What people, objects and activities do you notice? What year do you think this is? Let us know in the comments! Don’t be afraid to state the obvious. Noticing details can lead to greater insight. What can these details tell you about life in Florida at the time the photo was taken?

Try an artist’s trick. Divide the photo into four quadrants and study each section. What new details do you see? Based on what you have observed, what can you infer from this photograph? What questions do you have?

Come back on Friday when we will update the post with more identifying information!


For Teachers: Photo interpretation is a great critical thinking activity for students. The Photo Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives lets you use any photo as an opportunity to analyze primary source documents.

UPDATE: Pig on the beach!

This photo shows the crowds enjoying the outdoors at the beach in Seabreeze, Daytona in 1904. Many are watching a pig in the surf in the far-off distance at the right.

Some people seem to be dressed for swimming. Others are wearing ties and fancy hats. Among the horse-drawn carriages there is at least one automobile. 1903 was the first year of the Ormond-Daytona Beach Race. In 1903 and 1904, several world speed records were set.


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26 thoughts on “Photo Mystery Monday: October 26, 2015

    • It has to be Daytona Beach! I figured out what’s going on, but will reserve comment until later in the day to give others a chance to look at it.

  1. It looks like people enjoying a sunny day at the beach (I note the umbrellas/parasols). I see that the ladies in the middle wear skirts over their beach-bloomers. One can gather from that it’s late 1890s-1900s. There seem to be several families and even a dog. Is that a dog on the far right? It’s rather oddly shaped. And also, is that a horseless carriage I see?

  2. All the vehicles in the forground appear to be buggies. Many of the people seem to be looking at the lone vehicle in the distance. I suspect that is the first “horseless carriage” they had seen, perhaps ever, or at least on the beach.

  3. I think Daytona Beach or Cocoa Beach. There are no chairs so no one staying, they came to see something, maybe ships coming and
    going. I know there are some inlets like sebastion South of these
    beaches and more to the North that you can enter and leave to follow the coast line all the way to New York. Not a twister, I
    do not think people are that dumb. jan

  4. I see a stamp stating that it’s 1904 at Sea breeze. It seems people are focusing on something in our near the water, but unsure what that could be.

    • The Copyright Stamp appears to show 1904 and the Caption next to it says “17503 Beach at Seabreeze, Daytona, FL.”

      I cannot make out if that carriage in the distance is a horseless carriage or a carriage that just does not have its horse there. That could be the finish line for a horse led carriage race. The year 1904 would be a good one for the first horseless carriages though being seen on Florida beaches.

  5. I thought I knew, but now I’m not sure. There is a pig at the edge of the water, certainly that had to be unusual even then. However, it doesn’t seem that everyone is looking at the pig, which makes me wonder if it’s something else.

  6. It’s Daytona Beach of course! Also, when photo is split into 4 quadrants, the stamp on the bottom left corner indicates: Seabreeze Daytona Beach. The sand was hard packed, making it easy to drive on the beach, especially at low tide. I can remember driving on the beach with my parents as a child. But all that changed after the Daytona 500 International Speedway was built. Still a beautiful beach, though.

  7. The crowd is focused on something in the distance down the beach. I too think they are looking at a car driving on the beach for the first time in the early 1900s. Daytona Beach. Very cool photo! Thank you for sharing it!

  8. I have to say it is the first race on the beach, Ormond Beach precisely in 1903. The ladies dresses are from that Era and so are the vehickles. Am I correct?

  9. I thought it may have been the first time vehicles were allowed on the beach. It looks the some are looking intently at the water. I think I see something in the water. Could it be an animal? Oh, maybe a surfer????

  10. I’m going to guess a horse race / buggy race. Everybody is looking north on Daytona Beach and there is a gentleman pointing that way and one shielding his eyes then there is that lone buggy north of them heading there way. So yeah, I’m guessing buggy race. Awesome picture.

    • I’m going to guess the year, based on the garb and the lack of automobiles, to be 1895 and they are there to watch the Horse & Buggy races.

  11. The copyright says 1904 Seabreeze Beach. It looks like there is a distant ship on the horizon that people are watching.

  12. Since this picture was taken by a Detroit photography company (1904 copyright stamp, bottom left), I would guess that some planned event is taking place. I’m guessing an out-of-town photographer was invited and/or knew of the event and came for the purpose of taking pictures.

  13. 1904 Seabreeze Beach in Daytona. Northern visitors bathing hour on the beach, therefore, most likely winter. Land speed trials started in March 1903. Also, the animal on the right of the picture at the edge of the water is a pig, not a dog, which would be odd to anyone. Many of the people are looking at the pig or the oncoming carriage. Could that possibly be the farmer of the lost pig coming to take him back home?

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