Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

Washington, D.C., circa 1931. "Fifteenth Street at Pennsylvania Avenue." Note the traffic lights, which made their D.C. debut in 1926, as well as the traffic-cop gazebo at center ("NO LEFT TURN") and streetcar switch tower to its left. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Looking Up 15th St. at Pennsylvania Ave. in 1931

This great old photo shows the view looking north on 15th St., just east of the White House and Treasury Department. The intersection is with Pennsylvania Ave. Source: Shorpy

1940s. "Arlington County, Virginia. War Department. Pentagon, aerial view." Safety negative by Theodor Horydczak.

Pentagon Seen From the Air in the 1940s

This photo is something that probably wouldn’t be shot today. At least, not easily, without military notification and support. So, enjoy this rare photo of the Pentagon as seen from above. Source: Shorpy

Why Is It Named Langley, VA?

Langley, VA is the headquarters for the CIA. What's the history behind the area's name?

The Washington Directory - 1822

The President and Regular Folks in the 1822 Washington City Directory

Stuff like this is always great to come across. Below is the Washington Directory from 1822 by Judah Delano, which can be found here. Below is the page that’s really interesting. It shows all the regular...

Takoma Park Bans Guns, Dogs, and Weeds

This is a bizarre piece we found in The Washington Post from July 18th, 1928. And no, we’re not talking about that weed. The town fathers of Takoma Park, Md., have declared war on wild guns, wild...

1925 World Series game at Griffith Stadium - Washington v. Pittsburgh

Washington Senators’ Last World Series

In the 1925 World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the defending champion Washington Senators in seven games.

1942. "Effect of gasoline shortage in Washington, D.C." Note the streetcar control tower. Photo by Albert Freeman, Office of War Information.

What Did 14th St. Look Like During World War II?

Check out this cool photo we dug up on Shorpy. Also, check out the sweet Senate Beer advertisement below the clock. Looks like this photo was taken at 11:14 am. Source: Shorpy

Aerial view of the Washington Navy Yard, looking east (top). This shot shows the Navy Yard’s borders: M Street on the north (left); the waterfront on the south; 11th street on the east, and 2nd street on the west (foreground). On the right bank of the river is Anacostia, September 1963. NHHC Photograph Collection, Navy Subject Files, Washington Navy Yard. (214).

Aerial Views of the Navy Yard in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s

This photo is an aerial view of the Navy Yard just a couple of months before President Kennedy was assassinated. Source: National Museum of the U.S. Navy Here’s another one from the 1970s. Source: National Museum...

Washington, D.C., circa 1918. "World War I. Food Administration electric signs, 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W." National Photo Co.

7th and Pennsylvania Lit Up During World War I

Check out this great old photo of 7th and Pennsylvania Ave. during World War I. Source: Flickr

"Union Station tracks, Washington, circa 1920." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

Haunting Old Photo of Tracks Near Union Station

This old photo shows the tracks near Union Station in 1920. Source: Flickr

The view south from the top of the Washington Monument. Ice covers half of the Tidal Basin

What Did It Look Like Before the Jefferson Memorial?

Check out this great photo from 1908. The Jefferson Memorial wasn’t completed until 1943, so this is what the area looked like for another 35 years. Source: Flickr user Rob Ketcherside

1909 map of the Palisades

Great 1909 Map of the Palisades

Mrs. Ghost, Ghost Baby, and I spent a nice Saturday afternoon celebrating a birthday at a lovely home in the Palisades. The two parents of the young birthday child (and GoDCers) have a great home with the...

1860s photo of a hackman and his hackney (in London)

History of the Washington Hackmen (i.e., Carriage Driver)

Pre-dating Uber drivers by about 160 years, the hackmen of Washington used to provide transportation to locals and visitors alike. Hackmen used to rule the streets of the city, taking people wherever they wanted to go....

This Was F Street at Night in 1955

This amazing old photo shows F St. NW, looking east from 13th St. in 1955. Pretty cool. Source: Flickr user rockcreek Here’s a similar view today on Google Street View, which is not nearly as cook....

Washington, DC street scene on 17th St. near the White House, looking at

View of 17th St. and Renwick Gallery in 1918

In the distance, slightly blurry, is the Renwick Gallery. It’s been under renovation for a really long time, but it should be opening again this fall. Source: Library of Congress

Cars in front of the Washington Monument in 1956

GoDCer Shares His 1956 D.C. Vacation Pictures

Check out this great set of photos GoDCer Bill sent in (a while ago, sorry I’m just now posting them). The wild part is that tours passed by the front of the White House back in...

Vietnam-Era Soldier’s Remains Found 30 years Later at 10th and E St. NW

Thanks to a tip from GoDCer John, we did some digging into the story of a soldier who disappeared from Ft. Myer in 1967. A few Google searches later and we came across the story of...

President Hoover With Boys and Girls at The White House

Here’s a cool old photo showing President Herbert Hoover with a large group of boys and girls at the White House. Source: Shorpy