View of the Capitol from Maine Street SW in 1865

This photograph was taken in April 1865, which would have been right around the time of President Lincoln’s assassination. You can see the unpaved roads of Maine Street, SW. There are buildings in the foreground with the Capitol Building just visible in the background. The Capitol Dome is nearly complete in the photo below. When Lincoln first took office, the Dome was under construction, at this point there were only small changes to be made before completion.

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Maine Ave. SW 1865
Maine Ave. SW 1865

The view is quite different from today’s view. In a similar location, via Google Street View, the streets are obviously paved and the buildings have changed. You’d have to get really high up to see the Capitol Building now.

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Google Street View from Maine St SW
Google Street View from Maine St SW

About Sam E.

Sam is a new contributor to Ghosts of DC and Ghosts of Baltimore. He has been a long time fan of the website. As someone who can lose hours looking at old pictures and reading about DC history, the blog is a perfect outlet for him to explore the history of the District.

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  • saf_dc

    Maine Avenue ran parallel to and north of Maryland Ave, between 6th & 3rd Streets, on what is now the Air & Space Museum and the mall at that time.

  • ET

    In 1865 directory Somerville & Leitch were listed:

    Brass founders and finishers between 4 ½ and 6/12 Maine Ave near the Columbian
    Armory. Owners were Thomas Somerville and Robert Leitch. Their full page advertisement says:
    “manufacturers of all the various articles used in the city
    Plumbing, steam & gas-fitting
    And
    Locomotive and engine building business
    Also
    Brass castings of every description”

    Later they may have made fire hydrants which would have made
    sense.
    http://firehydrant.org/pictures/somerville-leitch.html

  • M_B_G

    Maine Avenue disappeared when they expanded the Mall. It was right below the then Botanic Gardens at the foot of the Capitol. Your current Maine Ave SW shot shows Arena Stage at Maine and M St SW.