Children of Poverty Near Union Station

Here’s a great photo from Shorpy. This shows a row of houses on Massachusetts Ave. near Union Station in 1935.

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Sept. 1935. Washington, D.C. "Houses on Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station." Photo by Carl Mydans, Resettlement Administration.
Sept. 1935. Washington, D.C. “Houses on Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station.” Photo by Carl Mydans, Resettlement Administration.

And here is the photo of the the kids again, this time up close.

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September 1935. A closeup of the Washington, D.C., row house seen here over the weekend. "Front of old brick structure in section near Union Station. Land is low here and water collects in front and backyard after a rain and remains for many days. Entrances to privies are usually under water. Interior of homes similar in shabbiness to exterior." 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans for the Resettlement Administration.
September 1935. A closeup of the Washington, D.C., row house seen here over the weekend. “Front of old brick structure in section near Union Station. Land is low here and water collects in front and backyard after a rain and remains for many days. Entrances to privies are usually under water. Interior of homes similar in shabbiness to exterior.” 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans for the Resettlement Administration.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Dan

    It looks like the number “14” above the door. Not familiar with the numbering system back then, but using today’s system, that would put it at the location of the National Postal Musuem. However, it appears the building which houses the museum was completed in 1914. These photos were taken in 1935. Could these houses have been across the street from there? (now a parking lot).

  • hunter worthen

    That house probably sold last week for $750,000 to some 28 year old lawyer and her staffer husband.

  • saturna bellweather

    I think the address is 41 Massachusetts Avenue which puts it in the parking lot directly across from the Postal Museum.

  • Looks more like 44. That or 14 would put it on the south side of Massachusetts Avenue, where this building is now: http://goo.gl/maps/YH1Yw

  • Matthew Gilmore

    Another photo on the Library of Congress website by Mydans shows more of the block: LC-USF33-T01-000147-M1. Childs Restaurant (now Suntrust Bank) at 2 Massachusetts Avenue is visible in the distance; so these houses are directly across from the still-standing Gales School–where 20 Massachusetts Ave NW is now.

  • Matthew Gilmore

    Another photo by Mydans shows more of the block: LC-USF33-T01-000147-M1. Childs restaurant at 2 Massachusetts Avenue is visible in the distance; so these houses are directly across from the still-standing Gales School. This is part of a much larger set of photos:

    United States. Resettlement Administration.
    Date Created/Published: 1935-1936.
    Medium: 160 photographic prints.
    Summary: Photographs show Washington, D.C. Poor housing conditions contrasted with well-built homes. Children playing in slum backyards and on street. Unsanitary conditions. Former residences now used as rooming houses. General views over rooftops. Interiors and details of substandard dwellings.

  • Publius Washingtoniensis

    Oh, the humanity. Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

  • alohaloaha

    entrances to privies underwater? that must mean that standing water everywhere was mixed with raw sewage. sounds like something you would see in a 3rd world country today!