Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

Watergate steps (source: SmugMug user George Calhoun)

Do You Know the Other Watergate?

Before “Watergate” became synonymous with a group of buildings and a scandal, it was the name applied to something else. And it’s something that most of us are very familiar with, especially if you’re an avid...

Vienna Home for $14,750

Buy a home in Vienna, VA for $14,750 back in 1957. What an amazing old advertisement from the Washington Post classifieds.

American University College of History building circa 1918 (Library of Congress)

Hurst Hall at American University in 1918

I believe this is Hurst Hall sometime between 1918 and 1920. If you went to AU, how does this compare to the building today? The university has a good history section on their own website that...

six-story apartment building being constructed by Thomas Pickford - April 12th, 1908 (Washington Post)

Apartment Building Collapses in Dupont Circle

You may recognize this building, because it is still there. After reading an article in the Washington Post from 1908, I have a far different perspective on the building. I was doing a little digging for...

9th and G St. NW in 1919 (Shorpy)

Old Photo: Dentist Office at 9th and G St. NW in 1919

What an incredible shot, frozen in time. Click the image for higher resolution and look at the details of the United Cigar Stores. Co. You can study this photo for a while. It’s pretty fascinating. Above...

White House stables and horse during Teddy Roosevelt's administration (Library of Congress)

White House Stables Demolished; Pauline the Cow Left Homeless

President Taft was a huge advocate for automobiles. So much so, that he the first set of White House limousines, including one that was steam driven. He was given a budget of $12,000 to invest in...

great white shark breaching

Shark Attacks in the Potomac in 1911?

This is not a joke. A long time ago, there was a perceived oncoming epidemic of invading sharks, hell-bent on destroying humans and their boats. I found this article in the Washington Post from July 26th,...

A street vendor and his radio-equipped cart circa 1928 in Washington, D.C. 4x5 glass negative from the National Photo Company Collection. (Shorpy)

Food Truck Friday Circa 1928

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to hit up the food trucks at Farragut today. I can’t get enough of that chicken on pita. Yum. Here’s a guy working his cart back in 1928...

1916 Slaves reunion. Lewis Martin, age 100; Martha Elizabeth Banks, age 104; Amy Ware, age 103; Rev. Simon P. Drew, born free." Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, 921 N Street N.W. (Shorpy)

1916 Convention of Ex-Slaves in D.C.

What an unbelievably powerful photo that speaks for itself. Click on it for a more detailed version. Below is an article published by the Washington Post on September 25th, 1916, leading up to the convention. A...

Brickskeller

Brickskeller: It’s New … It’s Different

The slow demise of Brickskeller was sad to witness. The place was full of so many fond memories. I’m sure many of you remember back when you could smoke in bars … that place was pretty...

Bloomingdale real estate advertisement - August 19th, 1911 (Washington Times)

Best Buy in Bloomingdale (1911)

Here’s a cool advertisement I came across in the Washington Times. This is from Augusts 19th, 1911. Check this out below. Here is the Google Street View of the same set of houses (with a tree...

In Hotel Lobbies: Mark Twain at the Willard

The creator of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn was in our city back in December 1906 to participate in the copyright hearings before Congress. The Washington Post mentioned them in in their “People Met in Hotel...

Fourth of July fireworks in 2008 (Library of Congress)

Happy Fourth of July and Happy Six-Month Birthday to GoDC!

Happy Fourth of July everyone! … and happy six-month birthday to Ghosts of DC. Enjoy your day off. Related articles Old Photo Friday: Women’s Suffrage Parade in 1914 (ghostsofdc.org) Afternoon Video: Washington, D.C. in 1931 (ghostsofdc.org)...

Leaflet calling for funds to help complete the Washington Monument by John Carroll Brent in 1854 (Library of Congress)

Contribute to the Washington National Monument Society

By 1854 the Washington Monument was about a third complete when the Washington National Monument Society ran out of funds and had to halt construction. John Carroll Brent called upon Americans to support the effort with...

Laurel, Maryland. July 31, 1922. "Two B&O freights wrecked in head-on crash at Laurel switch." National Photo Company glass negative (Shorpy)

Massive Head-On Train Collision in Laurel

This photo begs further investigation (click on it for high-resolution). Source: Shorpy This looks like a massive train wreck (obviously), and what continues to amaze me is in those days, people would rapidly gather around a...

Japanese embassy posing for photo with naval officers at Washington's navy yard (Library of Congress)

Arrival of First Japanese Embassy at the Navy Yard (1860)

In January 1860, the Tokugawa shogunate sent a delegation to the United States with the primary objective of ratifying the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation (aka, the Harris Treaty). Commodore Matthew Perry (not Chandler) had opened Japan (forcefully)...

Friday, June 29th, 2012 heat index

This Is Like Africa Hot

It has been ridiculously hot out … and we’re having crazy thunderstorms at night to boot. Well, if you think this is bad, try living in the area in 1980. On July 16th, 1980, the city...

William Stickney residence in the 1870s. William leading against building (source: adolf-cluss.org)

Lost History: The Stickney House at 6th and M

Why did we knock down half of the amazing buildings in Washington? It’s tragic and depressing when you read through John’s book “Lost Washington” or James’ book “Capitol Losses.” Sadly, the home below was torn down...