What’s Behind This Detailed Downtown Photo of Shoomaker’s Liquor Store in 1917?

I had some free time this weekend when Ghost Baby was snoozing, so I went deep on this photo I found at the Library of Congress.

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Shoomaker's and Globe Restaurant Company
Shoomaker’s and Globe Restaurant Company

Source: Library of Congress

Above is a terrific photo of part of the 1300 block of E St. NW around 1917. In the center is Shoomaker’s at 1311 E St. NW, a long-serving liquor store for downtown D.C., the place to pick up some whiskey or a fine bottle of European wine.

Click on the above image for a much larger version. Check out the store window below. You’ll notice that the store had been around since before the Civil War and had a couple ads placed in the window. The right-most shows the play “On With the Dance” being presented at the National Theater. Doing a little research, it looks like that Englishman Michael Morton‘s new play was running in October of 1917, with a review being printed in the October 23rd edition of The Washington Post. The play was adapted as a screenplay in 1920.

You can also tell that this picture was taken in the fall with leaves lining up against the curb and on the sidewalk.

The left-most advertisement was for a Hawaiian romance called “A Daughter of the Sun” playing at Poli’s at 15th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. According to one review in The Washington Post, patrons entering the theater would be greeted in the lobby by a ukelele orchestra and attendants wearing flower wreaths.

Shoomaker's storefront
Shoomaker’s storefront

I can’t quite make out the advertisement in the middle. If you can, please add your thoughts to the comments below.

Here’s a map of the block for reference. It appears that Shoomaker’s is the right side of number 38.

1300 block of E St. NW in 1919
1300 block of E St. NW in 1919

I wonder who this guy is. How old does he look? Maybe late mid to late 20s?

young man in front of Shoomaker's
young man in front of Shoomaker’s

The flyer above his head to the right says “Middleton” for Arthur Middleton, who was a baritone of the Metropolitan Opera Company. He was arriving in Washington with Claudia Muzio (aha, figured out what that middle advertisement was) who was an Italian operatic soprano.

Interested in hearing what Claudia sounded like? Thanks to the magic of the Internet, a recording was available on SoundCloud. Check it out below.

Also, you’ll also notice a World War I poster for Liberty Loans in the above image. This “Before Sunset” poster was created by Eugenie DeLand. Check out the full poster in color below. Also, if you’re interested in buying a replica of the poster, you can do so here. Or, just download a high-resolution copy of the poster from the Library of Congress and print it yourself.

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Before Sunset : Buy a U.S. Government Bond of the 2nd Liberty Loan of 1917.
Before Sunset : Buy a U.S. Government Bond of the 2nd Liberty Loan of 1917.

Source: University of North Carolina

To the left of Shoomaker’s is 1311 1/2 E St. NW, the smallest store in all of Washington at the time. The building only opened in 1915 according to an article in The Washington Post from January 10th of that year.

Remodeling work has just been completed on what is said to be the smallest store in Washington, located at 1311 1/2 E street northwest.

The building which is a two-story brick structure, has a frontage on E street of 7 1/2 feet, the outside measurements being 7 1/2 by 54 feet. The inside measurements are 6 by 52 feet.

The building is complete in itself, having a staircase in the single room downstairs to the single room on the second floor. It is at present owned by G. F. Heilprin, who purchased it a short time ago from Mrs. Allison Nailor. The property comprising 1309-1313 was originally all owned by one estate, being divided up at the death of one of the members of the family and at various times sold according to the frontage on E street.

Mr. Heilprin bought a 30-foot frontage on E street, which then comprised the one building, 1311, with a 23-foot frontage and the stairway next door, having a frontage of about 7 feet, which was rented for many years by Gray’s restaurant for a large sum.

It is said that the building is suitable for a shoe shining parlor, flower or newsstand.

Indeed they were correct in their assessment, seeing that a shoe shine parlor ended up occupying the premises according to the photo below.

1311 1/2 E St. NW
1311 1/2 E St. NW

An article in The Washington Post on Sunday, July 23rd, 1922 mentions that the property at 1311 E St. N, and its tiny neighbor, was sold for over $75,000.

1311 E St. NW sold
1311 E St. NW sold

To the right is the Globe Restaurant Company. This was part of a chain of restaurants in the city, where apparently you could get soda and cigars … a bizarre combination. This one was 1309 E St. NW and there was another one at 1712 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, near the White House.

The sign in the window reads “THE MILK AND CREAM Used in all of our restaurants is from Dr. Wiley’s BLUEMONT FARMS.” Dr. Harvey Wiley was apparently a notable chemist and former Chief Chemist for the Department of Agriculture, who owned a farm located in Bluemont, Loudoun County, VA.

Globe Restaurant Company
Globe Restaurant Company

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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  • Cherisse

    googling what’s there now….very interesting feature

  • Great post, thanks for going deep with all the detail.

  • H

    great article!

  • All the restaurants and soda shops offered cigars. The nicotine helped you poop. They ate a LOT of meat back then.

  • ET

    Oh boy. Do a search on Caludia Muzio in Chronicling America and I got some juicy details how she was sued for alienation of affection to the tune of $125,000 in 1922.

    I also found out that in 1913 Dr. Wiley was 69 (though he didn’t look older than 50 according to the author) with an 18 month old son and a wife about age 30 who had been president of the Stanton Suffrage Club in DC. She was still involved with the Consumers League of the District of Columbia.

  • jhuenn

    The poster between the two plays in the middle storefront window, appears to be the same Muzio poster that is in the window behind the young man. Just as the Middleton poster above the young man is also on display in the storefront window further to the right.

  • ArrrB

    Claudia Muzio–definitely not a soprano. More like a mezzo soprano.