Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

Hotel Fairfax. Simplified map of District of Columbia showing location of Hotel Fairfax (Library of Congress)

1950s Tourist Driving Map of D.C.

Check this out. This is an interesting find. It’s a simplified driving map of the city for tourists trying to get around the popular sites and attractions. Click on the map for greater detail. You’ll notice...

Drawing shows a woman and child exiting the telegraph office, and the National Hotel, at Pennsylvania and 6th Street, NW, as carriages and people move up and down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. The view is toward the Capitol, with its incomplete dome by A. Miller in 1860. (Library of Congress)

View of Pennsylvania Avenue in 1860

Here’s a great painting from 1860, looking down Pennsylvania Ave. It’s a similar view to the photo we posted last night, just a couple of years later, when the country was on the brink of civil...

reward poster by the War Department for Booth, Surratt and Herold (Library of Congress)

April 20th, 1865: Wanted! $100,000 Reward!

The assassination of President Lincoln is one of the most, if not the most, tragic event in the history of Washington. Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre in the evening of April 14th, 1865. A massive...

burial at Arlington National Cemetery

Frederick Douglass Honors “The Unknown Loyal Dead” at Arlington National Cemetery

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Arlington National Cemetery, the pre-Civil War home of Robert E. Lee, is a short Metro ride from Washington, DC. This week was my second visit in...

1846 photo of the Capitol Building

Amazing 1846 Photo of the Capitol Building

Here is an amazing photograph (or daguerreotype) by John Plumbe taken in 1846. It shows the east front of the Capitol Building, noticeably different than it looks today. Source: Library of Congress

photograph of the Capitol under construction in 1858

Amazing Old Photo of Capitol Dome Construction in 1858

I came across this gem scanning through the Architect of the Capitol’s website. I had to share it with you tonight. Click on it for the higher resolution image. It’s pretty amazing to take a look...

1321 33rd St. NW in Georgetown house on left (Google Street View)

Email From a GoDCer: Alexander Graham Bell’s Georgetown Home

I have been receiving emails from GoDCers with increasing frequency. Quite often these emails contain wonderful personal or family history relating to DC. This is one such email that I have to share. I received it...

Locomotive and cars through the concourse (Photo courtesy of Trains magazine)

Runaway Train Crashes Through Union Station Lobby

This is a guest post by GoDCer from Poolesville, Jack (the guy that tipped us off to some great stories, like the decapitated convict). President Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration was just five days away. For days the...

The Westchester (Flickr user Anomalous_A)

Three Things About The Westchester at 4000 Cathedral Ave. NW

We’re on a roll with these “Three Things…” posts, so why not crank out another one. This time, we’re going to focus on The Westchester at 4000 Cathedral Ave. NW. Christy, The Westchester’s resident ambassador for...

Aerial view in front of the Willard Hotel at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, showing pedestrians and rather dense traffic in autos and streetcars. - 1939

View of 14th and Pennsylvania Ave. From the Willard Hotel

I can spend two or three hours researching an in depth “Three Things…” or “If Walls Could Talk” post and ultimately end up with the same number of readers as a quick afternoon photo post. Today,...

Today we're leaving the office and taking the streetcar downtown for some shopping. From 1924, "F Street N.W. from 14th Street." (Shorpy)

Afternoon Photo: F St. NW in 1924

The last photo from F St. NW was so popular, so I wanted to post another one. I found this great photo on Shorpy showing F St. back in 1924. Share this one on Facebook with...

1925 fire run with Barney, Gene and Tom

Three Things About the Last Three Fire Horses: Tom, Gene and Barney

In my call for suggestions last week, GoDCer Rych emailed a request to look into the last fire horses for the District fire department. John Kelly did a piece a few years back in the Post...

Irving Street Garage Co. advertisement in the Washington Times

Columbia Heights Had the Largest Fireproof Garage South of Philadelphia

Here’s an advertisement from the Washington Times that caught my eye. This was published on April 10th, 1920. This garage was located where DC USA is today. Related articles The Chastleton: Parlors With Apogees of Luxury...

Three giants of the Metropolitan Police Force - 1903 (Washington Times)

Three Giants of the Metropolitan Police Force

I came across an article in the Washington Times about three giants of the Washington police force … and I mean real “giants,” as in super tall cops. Well, super tall by standards back in 1903,...

McKinley & cabinet (Library of Congress)

The 25th President of the United States

If you know who POTUS 25 is off the top of your head, congratulations. You are an über history geek. Enjoy the Libary of Congress photos below. [slideshow]

Washington, D.C., 1924. "Ford Motor Co. -- Lincoln at Capitol." The Great Transportator. National Photo Company glass negative (Shorpy)

Old Photo Friday: Ford at the Capitol

This is an amazing, symmetrical photograph from 1924 with a Ford in the foreground and the Capitol Building in the background. Share this one on Facebook with your friends. Related articles Calvin Coolidge, Vermont Native and...

Wreck of the Crescent Limited train on the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge over the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., in the United States. Flood waters from a storm undermined the bridge's pilings, which led to the crash on August 24, 1933. The engineer died in the wreck. (Library of Congress)

Train Plunges Into The Anacostia. Passenger Swims to Safety and Walks Home

This is a guest post by GoDCer from Poolesville, Jack (the guy that tipped us off to some great stories, like the decapitated convict). On the afternoon of August 23, 1933 the Weather Bureau updated an...

Washington, D.C., circa 1908 "F Street, looking toward Treasury." Note the sign on the Lincoln Park streetcar advertising the "hydraulic dive" at Glen Echo. (Shorpy)

Old Photo Friday: F St. NW in 1908

It’s Friday! …and it’s time for some cool old shots of our city. Take a look at this view down F St. NW. Click the photo for a high resolution version, because it has some amazing...