Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

1967 Map of Unbuilt D.C. Highways

Why doesn't 395 cut through Washington, DC? This is the history of highways in DC.

1939 View of 14th and Penn.

This amazing old photograph shows the intersection of 14th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., where the Willard Hotel sits. It has some amazing details so click OK it to see them.

1877 Map of Georgetown

This is a great old map of Georgetown. Click on it for greater details. Source: Library of Congress

Where Can You Have an Embassy in Washington, D.C.?

You can't build an embassy anywhere in D.C. Check out this map from 1987 showing where it's okay to have your diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.

Potomac and Georgetown Flood

This crazy old photos shows Georgetown’s flooding and the Potomac in 1918. Here’s another good piece about it at The Georgetown Metropolitan.

February 22nd, 1919

Five Things in the Paper 100 Years Ago

Let’s try something new. We browsed the papers from Saturday February 22nd, 1919 to come up with some fun and interesting things to share with you. This is what we came across in The Evening Star on that...

1917. Arlington, Virginia. "Fort Myer officer training camp mess." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Our Best Posts From 2012

It’s hard to believe, but Ghosts of DC was born over seven years ago. We first started posting on January 4th, 2012 with a piece about Nick Altrock, former Washington Senators baseball player and Columbia Heights...

Congressman Wilbur Mills and exotic dancer Fanne Foxe speak with reporters outside Foxe’s dressing room in 1974. (Bettmann Archive via Getty Images)

Arkansas Congressman and the Argentine Stripper

I watched The Front Runner this weekend, the story about Gary Hart’s implosion of a presidential campaign in 1988. What a fascinating movie and slightly prescient of the tabloid times we live in today. It got...

1894 Map of Tennallytown and Reno

This map is so fascinating, showing Tennallytown (i.e., Tenleytown today) and Reno (long-since razed). It was done by G.M. Hopkins & Co. in 1894. Make sure you click on it for a larger version to examine...

Whitehurst Freeway / Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway, Washington, District of Columbia, DC

Georgetown’s Whitehurst Freeway Opens in 1949

It sure isn’t pretty, but it’s quite effective at diverting traffic from Rosslyn, around Georgetown and onto K St. Granted, traffic is still horrific on Key Bridge, M St., and K St., but imagine how it...

1926 ad for Petworth homes in The Evening Star

Petworth Home Ads from 1926

We posted some cool old maps of Petworth’s development in the early part of the 20th century yesterday. Today, here are some cool ads to go along that. You’re looking at a few ads we found...

1919 map of Petworth

Maps of Petworth Development from 1903 to 1919

We love sharing these old maps of Washington. This time, we’re going to share a series of maps of Petworth to show the neighborhood development over several decades. If you live in or near Petworth, you’re...

Reno Rd. NW

Reno Road Almost Renamed Washington Avenue

A little-known story about upper northwest is that Reno Road, which cuts right through the heart of North Cleveland Park to Chevy Chase, was almost renamed Washington Avenue, in honor of the west coast state. An...

Proposed D.C. subway system

Proposed D.C. Subway During World War II

Between 1930 and 1950, the population of Washington expanded incredibly. The crush of people needed a way to get to work, and though a proposed subway in 1912 never came to fruition, the idea resurfaced during...

1904 Columbia Heights Real Estate Ad

Check out this great old advertisement from The Evening Star back in 1904. It shows a number of great properties for sale in then-new Columbia Heights, which was booming with development. Source: Library of Congress

Balloon “Bootleggers” Chased By Police

Did you know that selling balloons on the streets of D.C. was made illegal back in 1934? There was quite a booming industry of balloon vendors trolling the streets, getting parents to buy balloon for eager...

Washington, D.C., circa 1918. "Childs Restaurant, 1423 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Horse Dealers Claim Automobiles a Fad

This is a great old article that we dug up in The Washington Post from May 14th, 1900. We see this same ignorance or protectionist tendencies to this day. Look at taxis versus Uber and Lyft, or...

View of Georgetown D.C. / lith. and printed in colors by E. Sachse & Co.

View of Georgetown in 1855

This lovely painting shows Georgetown in the distance as it looked in 1855. Source: Library of Congress