Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

President's Palace design by John Collins

Who Almost Designed the White House?

Way back in the day, the building we now know as the White House was called the “President’s Palace”, “President’s Mansion”, or the “President’s House.” The nomenclature evolved over time, with the accepted name for 1600...

Rochambeau Statue in Lafayette Park (circa 1900)

Lafayette Square: Then and Now

Here are some cool old photos and contemporary photos from the same spot in Lafayette Park, near the White House. The statues barely changed over a 100 years, but it’s fascinating to see what happened to...

The White House ruins after the conflagration of August 24, 1814. Watercolor by George Munger (WIkipedia)

The War of 1812 and Relocating the Nation’s Capital

Why is the capital in Washington, DC? After the British burned the White House and Capitol in the War of 1812, the capital almost moved back to Philadelphia.

A Pan Am 707 on the runway

Pan Am’s First Passenger Jet to Europe (1958)

Aviation has a strong history in the Washington area. Following on the heels of our last aeronautical first (Concorde at Dulles), here is another first for the region and the country. In the fall of 1958,...

54 Rhode Island Ave. NW

If Walls Could Talk: 54 Rhode Island Ave. NW

I’ve always been fascinated by this building on Rhode Island Ave. It looks like something that belongs in New Orleans with the two-tiered porch.

Robert H. Muir's World War I Draft Registration Card (Ancestry.com)

Robert H. Muir: Manager of The Cairo

There were a couple of requests a short while back to do a post on The Cairo, the most famous residential building in the city. You can Google it or check it out on Wikipedia, so...

Robert Brent

Who Was the First Mayor of Washington? Heard of Robert Brent?

Who was the first mayor of Washington? It wasn't Walter Washington or Marion Barry. Have you hear of Robert Brent? He was Thomas Jefferson's friend.

U2 live in 1980

U2 Live in Georgetown Day Before Lennon Shot

Yep, that’s right. Paul (aka, Bono), Adam, Larry and David (aka, The Edge) rocked the nation’s capital in the early 80s. The Irish supergroup was less super back then, playing small (much smaller) venues like The...

U.S. and Iraqi representatives standing on porch of White House (May 28th, 1945)

Prince Adful Ilah of Iraq Visits Washington

Here’s an interesting story from the end of World War II. Near the end of the war, the Crowned Prince of Iraq, Abdul Ilah was due to visit Washington and newly inaugurated President Truman (Roosevelt died...

Easter Air Lines DC-4

Planes Collide Near National Airport Killing 55; D.C. Loses Home Rule Advocate

A horrific air disaster occurred on November 1st, 1949 near National Airport. An inbound passenger flight from Boston collided with a small military plane, killing everyone on board. This was the front page article of the...

13th and Harvard St. NW advertisement (1905)

Open House For 13th and Harvard St. NW Homes (1905)

This is awesome. Maybe you’re going to hit up a few open houses today? Well, check this old advertisement out. This part is great, advertising your potential new neighbors in Columbia Heights: Elegant residences of Congressmen...

Abraham Lincoln colorized (1865)

Our Five Most Popular Posts … and Five Duds

This blog is 150 posts deep now and I’d like to go back and revisit some of the more popular posts. Out of the top 20 posts, 11 were If Walls Could Talk entries and the...

Anti-Saloon League slogan

Lips That Touch Liquor Shall Not Touch Ours

December 10th, 1913 — Over 4,000 Temperance movement and Prohibition supporters marched in Washington, demanding a new constitutional amendment banning alcohol consumption in the United States. A demonstration of this size had never been seen before. They marched...

Ron Paul in Astros uniform (1983)

Ron Paul Crushes a Double in Congressional Baseball

This is awesome and appears to be the latest minor D.C. Internet meme. Well, I love baseball and I love D.C., so I want to share this with those of you who haven’t seen it yet...

Smith Commons ground floor

If Walls Could Talk: Smith Commons

Curious about Smith Commons on H St. in DC? Check out our latest “If Walls Could Talk” post. The winner of our second IWCT poll is the H Street hot spot, Smith Commons (I don’t think...

Washington Gas Light Co. advertisement (1906)

Gas for Lighting and Heating: Buy Now, Pay Later

Here’s an old advertisement from the Washington Times. This ad for gas lighting and heating ran in the March 2nd, 1906 newspaper. You could choose to have gas fixtures installed throughout your home and have the...

Ludington Airlines advertisement

Ludington Airlines Sets New World Passenger Mark

Almost 80 years ago, Washington had an express airline with service to New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. At cruising speed, Ludington Airlines was able to get you up to the New York City within two hours...

JFK at Bowling Green State University

Senator John F. Kennedy Outtakes

Here’s an interesting video I came across on YouTube. I’m not quite sure what year this is from, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the mid-1950s. It’s fascinating to watch the former Senator and President messing...