08/31/2012 01:09 pm ET

Rare Color Photos Of Main Street From The 1940s

After recovering from the crises of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, the spirit of human ingenuity and American entrepreneurship found a way to persevere in the 1940s.

The Library Of Congress' Flickr gallery of vivid color photography from the '30s and '40s offers a glimpse into this era, a time when Main Street reinforced its identity with independent businesses in towns across America. (Hat tip: CBS News.)

As the country prepared for war in the early '40s, collaboration between businesses and the American people represented a collective resourcefulness. Some photos even show ex-housewives working on things like black-out lamps for gasoline trailers. Others show Main Street then as it often remains today, a gathering place where people could go to enjoy shared company while supporting local businesses. (There wasn't a Walmart on every other corner.)

The photos also show the effect of some of the important developments that changed American business in the years prior. The invention of the supermarket by Michael Cullen ushered in an economy of affordability, diversity and convenience, driven by consumers. American companies like Hewlett-Packard and Polaroid were the startups of their day, encouraging other Americans to pursue their bright ideas.

More than anything, the photos offer a candid look at an America in transition and the changing cities that people called home.

Check out some of the 1940s photos from the Library of Congress' collection in the slideshow below:

Main Streets Around The U.S. From The 1940s

Caption information courtesy of the Library of Congress.