Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

1919 map of Dupont and Farragut

GoDCers Love Maps

1919 Map of Dupont South and Farragut

This is what south of Dupont Circle and Farragut looked like in 1919, before the Mayflower was built. Source: Library of Congress

Department of Treasury - November 11th, 1862

Other Cool Stuff

Treasury Department Under Construction in the 1860s

Here’s a great series of images showing the Treasury Building under construction in the 1860s.

Washington Monument

Faces & Places of Yesterday

The Washington Monument as Seen From The Treasury Department

Here’s an incredible view of the Washington Monument some time in the early 1980s. Source: Library of Congress

Two girls view the cherry blossoms at night from the Tidal Basin, undated, Scurlock Studio. Scurlock Studio Records, c. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Neg. no. 2008-4935.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Best Night Cherry Blossom Washington Monument Photo Ever

How great is this old photograph of the cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument? We dug this old photo up in the Smithsonian Archives. It was taken some time in the 1940s or 1950s. Source: Smithsonian...

Department of Treasury in 1863

Notable People & Places

Civil War Photo of the Treasury Department

What an incredible photo of the Treasury Department. Source: Library of Congress

Two Curtiss JN-4H "Jenny" airmail planes parked at the temporary airmail field at Washington, DC’s Polo Field, a small strip of grassy land between the Tidal Basin and Potomac River.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

What Did U.S. Postal Service Planes Look Like During World War I?

What an awesome old photo of a U.S. Postal Service plane from 1918. Source: Smithsonian

Proposed design for Smithsonian Institution Building by John Notman, north front elevation. It is a Gothic design with three stories, a central tower/cupola, crenellated embattlements, and symmetrical wings. The design was submitted for the competition sponsored by the Building Committee of the Board of Regents, December 23, 1846

Lost History

Unbuilt 1846 Proposed Design for Smithsonian Castle

What a fascinating old drawing from 1846. This is the proposed design for the Smithsonian Castle, Source: Smithsonian Archives

guns kill people

From the Crazy Vault

Capitol Hill Wife Murdered by Drunk Lover, Discovered by Husband Returning From Work at Navy Yard

Digging through the old newspaper archives, we uncovered a the following headline: “Found Wife Murdered; And Many Lay Dead Beside Her In Husband’s Home; Believes He Did Shooting.” How can we not look into this? The piece...

Washington, D.C., circa 1923. "Sherman house, 300 block Third Street N.W." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Lost 3rd St. NW Buildings

How different does this view of 3rd St. look like? Source: Shorpy

View of the Smithsonian Institution Building looking east up B Street (Independence Ave) towards the U.S. Capitol. Grounds are landscaped following a plan laid out by Andrew Jackson Downing, with the Castle nestled among trees. Visible amidst the trees is the Magnetic Observatory, built in 1853. People stand along the fence installed along the sidewalk on B Street In this image, the central roof of the Castle is intact and the small towers have the caps on them. In January of 1865, a fire destroyed the central roof and the caps on the towers, so this photograph had to have been taken prior to January 1865 and is most likely April 1863. The Capitol dome, seen in the distance, is not yet completed

Notable People & Places

Look at the Smithsonian and Capitol in 1865

What an awesome photo from the Civil War era. You’re looking up what is Independence Ave. today. Source: Smithsonian Archives

Union Station, bird's-eye view from the south

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Check Out Union Station in the Twenties

Wow, this is such a cool old photo from the 1920s. Source: Library of Congress

Columbia Heights

Lost History

Columbia Heights Building Boom Could Have Started in 1996

It’s not possible for one to argue that Columbia Heights has been catapulted to the epicenter of gentrification and real estate renaissance over the last decade. It’s certainly brought back economic life to a part of...

Washington, D.C., 1921. "National Fruit Co." Out-of-town bananas and news. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

What Did Fruit Vendors Look Like in the 1920s?

How cool is this photo of D.C. from 1921. You’ll notice that the YMHA (Young Men’s Hebrew Association) building is in this too. This is the 400 block of 11th St. NW. Source: Library of Congress

Circa 1932. "United Food Stores." Whitman's Market at A and Sixth streets S.E. in Washington. National Photo Company safety film negative.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

1932 Capitol Hill Corner Market

This is a great old photo of the United Food Stores market at 6th and A St. SE in 1932. Source: Shorpy And, below is the same building today on Google Street View.

Circa 1924, "Metropolitan Methodist Church, C Street, Washington, D.C." And the Ford building next door. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size. The church, at C Street NW and John Marshall Place, was abandoned and razed after the congregation moved to its Nebraska Avenue location in the 1930s. The 1905 Ford Motor Co. building on Pennsylvania Avenue was torn down in 1980.

Faces & Places of Yesterday, Lost History

Magnificent Lost Methodist Church on C Street

What a beautiful old church, which was sadly destroyed in the name of progress. Ugh. Source: Shorpy

Hains Point

Faces & Places of Yesterday

What Did Hains Point Look Like in the 1920s?

Source: Library of Congress And this is the same area in today’s Google Street View.

(right) The Munsey Building, built in 1905 and demolished in 1980; (left) the Washington Post Building (also demolished)

Lost History

Remember the Munsey Building at 13th and Pennsylvania?

It’s a sad fact that much of D.C. was demolished from the 1950s through the 1980s. It’s a damn shame, but everything was in the name of progress. Source: Flickr user Smithsonian Source: Streets of Washington Our...

Traffic, 14th & Thomas Circle

Faces & Places of Yesterday

What Did Thomas Circle Look Like in 1920?

This is such an incredible photo of Thomas Circle in the 1920s. I love this. Click on it for a larger version and study it for a while. Source: Library of Congress