Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

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...

1887-1888 Cuban Giants

Guest Posts, Notable People & Places

Cuban Giants Defeat All-Washington Team; Frederick Douglass in Attendance

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Frederick Douglass was a baseball man. His son, Charles, organized and played on Washington, DC-based colored teams in postbellum Washington. The Washington Mutual and later Alerts both traveled...

The New Corcoran Gallery (Washington Times)

Three Things...

Three Random Facts About the Corcoran Gallery

Tragedy! I was tipped off by DCist that the Corcoran Gallery might be leaving the District for Alexandria?! Wow, that would be bad. Say it ain’t so. And who is in the market to buy a big...

From the Crazy Vault

Ban Growlers of Beer; Leads to Streets of Vicious Boys and Girls

Ha! How’s this for irony? Back in 1905, District authorities were fighting to ban growlers in the city, claiming that access to excessively cheap beer was damaging to society as a whole. Three interest groups, the...

Other Cool Stuff

1987 DC20 Sunday Matinee Theatre Opening

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZNX3mJBiVg If you couldn’t tell, today I’m feeling a little nostalgic about 1980s’ television. If you lived in the area back in the 80s, you’ll remember this. It’s the Sunday matinée opening for DC20 and the...

WUSA logo (Wikipedia)

Other Cool Stuff

WUSA Sign-On 1988

If you’re younger than about 25, you probably don’t know this, but not all television stations were 24 hours a day. Back in 1988, WUSA was one of those stations, and every morning when they would...

Grover Cleveland

Guest Posts

Grover Cleveland Gets Lost in 19th Century Anacostia

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. While trying to confirm President Hayes visited Douglass at Cedar Hill, I came across this news item telling of President Grover Cleveland (the 22nd and, later, the 24th...

Michael Jordan on court at career finale

Notable People & Places

Michael Jordan Lands in D.C.

If you were living in D.C. in the fall of 2001, this was a big deal … although, there was a certain undertone of skepticism. Could he still play at the same level, despite being 38?...

B-29 Superfortress in flight (Wikipedia)

Three Things...

Three Things You Didn’t Know About National Airport

The popular “Three Things…” post about Dulles Airport prompted me to give equal treatment to our other local, older and much more convenient airport: National Airport (not Reagan National Airport, thank you very much). Actually, the...

Walter Spangenberg, captain in the Woodrow Wilson High School Cadet Corps at the school's Regimental Ball during WWII - October 1943 (Shorpy)

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Walter Spangenberg of Woodrow Wilson High School Cadet Corps

This is a far more charming photo of Washington in 1943 than the mock execution being held on the grounds of Woodrow Wilson High School. More than likely, Spangenberg was in the background of that photo,...

Chastleton in the Washington Times - November 1st, 1919

Reader's Choice

The Chastleton: Parlors With Apogees of Luxury

I haven’t done one of these in a while … so, GoDCer Jon, this is for you. A quick Washington Post search uncovered an article about the buildings construction. This was published on June 15th, 1919...

a wild dog (source: the Internet)

From the Crazy Vault

Kingman Island Squatter Eaten by Wild Dog

Yowza! This is a crazy story that lives up to the title, albeit a brief story. I came across this in the Washington Post on October 25th, 1941. A few gnawed bones and a wild dog...

John Bruebaker's death certificate (Congressional Cemetery)

From the Crazy Vault

Georgetown Canal Boatmen Brawl; Brutal Fight Ends in Murder

I was poking around the archives of both The Washington Post and The Washington Times to come across a gem of a story to share and the one that caught my eye involved two Georgetown boatmen engaged...

Guest Posts, The Best Of

Metro Trains Were Almost Bright Red!

Washington Metro cars were almost bright red. Early mockups had the trains looking tomato red.

Arcade Market in Columbia Heights (Library of Congress)

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Columbia Heights Arcade Gets First Roof Garage in D.C.

Driving was still not the primary mode off transportation in the city with streetcars crisscrossing the city, but John Blick, head of the Arcade Market going up in Columbia Heights felt strongly enough about making as...

1909 panoramic view of Washington (Library of Congress)

Updates from the Blog

143 Days In … Time For a Break

Since we started way back (seems like way back) on January 4th, we have put up 336 blog posts about this city. For 143 consecutive days, seven days a week, without a single day off, we...

Frederick Douglass in 1881

Guest Posts, Notable People & Places

Frederick Douglass Attends First Union Alumni Association of Howard University and Toasts “Self-Made Men”

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Frederick Douglass was a self-made man about town during his years in Washington. He was a frequent guest of the White House through the various Presidential administrations...

P.K. Chaconas Co. Market circa 1915; George Chaconas pictured in front (Shorpy)

Faces & Places of Yesterday

P.K. Chaconas and Co.: These Prices Hold Good For One Week

Here’s a photo of George Chaconas in front of his market, located at 924 Louisiana Ave. NW. If you look near the top right of the photo, you’ll see what appears to be the tip of...