We recently began a unit on the period just after the Civil War called Reconstruction.
Virginia Tech has some awesome pictures of the period that make a fantastic introduction to the unit. There are hundreds of black and white historical photos that are returned with each search. You can select individual ones, zoom in, and discuss the images with your students.You can view the factories and people of this time period through the use of Virginia Tech's Image base website by clicking here.
I previewed the site by searching the following terms and selecting the photos I wanted to share with the students.
I chose images that are of the buildings and some that are of the workers. I wanted to choose photos that reflected the different gender, age, and race of the workers in the various industries at that time. I also wanted photos that displayed the landscape around the buildings to emphasize the change in the land during this time.
**One thing you want to pay attention to is the copyright information at the bottom of each photo. May of them may only be printed with permission, so you may want to view them only.
As an inquiry-based approach, you can have groups of students create charts like the one below for each photo.