GoDCer Shares His 1956 D.C. Vacation Pictures

Check out this great set of photos GoDCer Bill sent in (a while ago, sorry I’m just now posting them). The wild part is that tours passed by the front of the White House back in those days. And, I’m not talking about Pennsylvania Ave., I mean the driveway in front of the White House.

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Front portico of the White House in 1956
Front portico of the White House in 1956
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Cars in front of the Washington Monument in 1956
Cars in front of the Washington Monument in 1956
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Aerial view of the Jefferson Memorial in 1956
Aerial view of the Jefferson Memorial in 1956
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Aerial view of Federal Triangle and Old Post Office  Pavilion in 1956
Aerial view of Federal Triangle and Old Post Office Pavilion in 1956

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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  • Ziggy Sawdust

    The good ol’ days when you could actually drive near the monuments and the mall was still littered with WWII-era office buildings.

  • SkorpioG

    In the photo of the Jefferson Memorial, what is the cantilevered bridge on the left? I see the Long Bridge (railroad – still present) the Highway Bridge (still present though now part of I-395) with drawbridge gatehouse, but the third bridge. What is it?

  • Publius Washingtoniensis

    Skorpio: I’d bet it’s the old highway bridge, and it appears to have a drawspan. Note the straight shot off the highway bridge behind the Jefferson Memorial — that’s all long gone. The two bridges on the right are almost certainly the George Mason and Rochambeau Bridges, and they look as though they were still under construction. They were known as the “Twin Bridges,” and Marriott built a huge, and now demolished, “Twin Bridges Marriott” motel close by on the Virginia shore. It was claimed to be the largest motor hotel in the world at the time. The third automobile bridge was built in the late 60s, followed shortly by the Metro Bridge. I remember a controversy over the naming of the third bridge: Arlington Rep Joel Broyhill wanted it named for Lighthorse Harry Lee, but the newly empowered DC Government, under Walter Washington, was strongly opposed, since the river belongs entirely to the District of Columbia. Can’t remember how that was finessed, but it’s not the LIghthorse Harry Lee Bridge. I assume the old bridge was eventually demolished, because I don’t recall it being there when I came to Washington in 1965.

  • cowboyram

    The Washington Monument photo is taken from the Lincoln Memorial. At the time cars could also drive right in front of that memorial. It’s now the pedestrian plaza.

  • cowboyram

    Wikipedia has some more information on the Twin Bridges Marriott: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Bridges_Motor_Hotel and google has a couple of photos of it as well.