Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Film Footage of Washington in 1931

This is amateur 16mm film shot and uploaded to YouTube. The voiceover is amusing, but the scenes are a great step back in time over 80 years.

homes between 1222 & 1232 Irving St. NW (Washington Times)

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Different Styles of Architecture Favored by Washington Builders

There was a real estate and building boom in Washington early in the 1900s. And when money flows into the market like that from countless speculators, they try to stand out from the rest by providing...

Join MPD

Old Ads & Classifieds

Come On! Join MPD in 1918; Free Street Car Rides (In Uniform)

Here is a terrific old advertisement from 1918, soliciting young men between 22 and 35 to join the Metropolitan Police Department (a limited number of intelligent and educated women will also be considered). Click on the...

Historical Events

Space Shuttle Discovery Flies Over Washington

History happens every single day and many of you witnessed this one (I did). The sight of the 747 and Space Shuttle over DC was amazing and it warrants a quick video post to share with...

guy digging grave

From the Crazy Vault

Jansen the Body Snatcher Strikes Again

Chalk another great find up to GoDCer and Poolesville resident, Jack. Thanks! Do you hang out with your kids in Walter Pierce park? Maybe you played kickball or soccer on the fields there, or take your...

Medical students dissect a cadaver during the Civil War (National Museum of Civil War Medicine)

From the Crazy Vault

Body of Executed Man Sold for Parts

Jack, a GoDCer in Poolesville, sent over a series of great story ideas, mostly focused on the ghoulish and ghastly. This is an excellent candidate for best “From the Crazy Vault” post yet. Well done Jack,...

Capitol Dome and Trinity Church around 1859 (13 years before Douglass moved to DC)

Guest Posts

Frederick Douglass, a Kleptomaniac?

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Frederick Douglass was no born fool, simpleton, sucker, or gump. He came up from slavery, he came up in the the streets of Jacksonian Baltimore. As has...

Emmanuel Leutze, "Westward the Course of Empire"(1861)

Notable People & Places

Go West, Young Man; Washington Is Not a Place to Live In

GoDCer Ryan sent me a cool fact — or possibly historical rumor — that I’d like to share with the rest of you. It’s a simple, yet well-known quote, but there is some debate as to whether these...

James Madison Wyatt Stone in the Washington Post

From the Crazy Vault

Headless Body Stands and Lips Quiver on Convict’s Decapitated Dead After Hanging

Here’s another excellent story idea from Poolesville GoDCer Jack. If we gave awards for class participation, Jack would win. Thanks for all the tips. If any of you have story ideas, feel free to email [email protected]

Notable People & Places

Lincoln Strangely Forgotten by Visitors to Washington

The city and the nation was about to celebrate Lincoln’s 98th birthday when the Washington Times published a feature on how visitors seemed to have completely forgotten the fallen president. A generation had passed since Abe...

Ebbitt House in 1865 as photographed by Matthew Brady (Wikipedia)

Three Things...

Old Ebbitt Grill History

GoDCer and long-distance reader Ben sent in a request to do a little digging on local favorite Old Ebbitt Grill. The restaurant has a great story, deeply tied to the history of our city, having been...

Howard University from Robert N Dennis Collection

Guest Posts, Notable People & Places

Frederick Douglass and Rutherford B. Hayes Speak at Howard University

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Forget what you’ve heard, or rather haven’t heard or yet read. Frederick Douglass was a Howard Universityman through and through. Douglass was not just a lion, he was a Bison....

State, War, and Navy Building late 19th century by William Henry Jackson

Notable People & Places

Incredible Photo of State, War, Navy Building

This is an incredible photo that needs no commentary. It was taken by William Henry Jackson some time near the end of the 19th century. I came across this on a cool photo archive site Photographium....

1907 Baist real estate atlas of 14th and Monroe St. NW

Faces & Places of Yesterday, From the Crazy Vault

Epicenter of Macabre Tragedy in 1906: 14th and Monroe in Columbia Heights

I came across a very sad article in the Washington Post the other day. This is from September 2nd, 1906 and given that a large number of GoDCers have demonstrated their interest in the macabre and...

Walter and Hazel Johnson with Walter's mother (Library of Congress)

Notable People & Places

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Johnson Tie the Knot on Monroe St. NW

Here’s one of the best story tips we’ve received thus far. Thanks to GoDCer Jack in Poolesville who tipped us off to the Big Train’s nuptials being held in a regular apartment at 1498 Monroe St....

1914 Raush & Lang electric vehicle (Smithsonian)

Faces & Places of Yesterday

U.S. House Bans Joy Rides in Government Automobiles

Amid the implosion of yet another DC council member this week (what part of public trust don’t you guys understand?), it’s only apropos to post a story like this. Sadly, our outrage is not something unique, as...

Other Cool Stuff

NBC Channel 4, Our Pride is Showing

Ahh, I miss the 80s. Don’t you? Related articles 1987 DC20 Sunday Matinee Theatre Opening (ghostsofdc.org) WUSA Sign-On 1988 (ghostsofdc.org) If Walls Could Talk: Chateau Bonaparte on K Street (ghostsofdc.org)

view down an elevator shaft

From the Crazy Vault, Notable People & Places

Cairo Building Steamfitter Falls 120 Feet Down Elevator Shaft and Lives to Tell the Tale

This is a worthy story for a “From the Crazy Vault” post … check it out. I came across the tale in the Washington Times from October 7th, 1894. Falling down an elevator shaft from the...