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

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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.

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

Source: Library of Congress

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.