Remember the Munsey Building at 13th and Pennsylvania?

It’s a sad fact that much of D.C. was demolished from the 1950s through the 1980s. It’s a damn shame, but everything was in the name of progress.

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(right) The Munsey Building, built in 1905 and demolished in 1980; (left) the Washington Post Building (also demolished)
(right) The Munsey Building, built in 1905 and demolished in 1980; (left) the Washington Post Building (also demolished) – c. 1920

Source: Flickr user Smithsonian

Munsey Building prepped for demolition (1980)
Munsey Building prepped for demolition (1980)

Source: Streets of Washington

Our role model, John DeFerrari wrote an incredible post on the building’s history, and you need to head over there to check it out.

Frank Munsey was a Gilded Age capitalist—robber baron, if you will—who had a major influence on the publishing business at the beginning of the twentieth century. He is credited with perfecting printing processes that could use extremely low-quality “pulp” paper to produce periodicals that were both dirt-cheap and filled with enough racy fare to be widely popular. Thus was born the era of pulp fiction. Munsey went on to buy, sell, and merge many newspapers throughout the country, often for his own profit but at the expense of the publication’s very existence.

Head over to his Streets of Washington blog to read the full story. And, if you haven’t seen his site before, you’re in for a treat. John’s blog and books have served as a huge inspiration for this site.

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Munsey Building south facade around 1980
Munsey Building south facade around 1980

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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  • DCplanner

    I would have loved to see the Munsey Building saved, but much has been preserved in DC. Most demolition has been in the “new downtown” of the K Street corridor. The introduction of Metrorail made higher density development logical but many low density neighborhoods have survived. We just need better design of new buildings! By the way, the buildings flanking the Munsey Building in the above view – the Willard Hotel and the National Theater – have been preserved.