Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

July 4th fireworks, Washington, D.C. - July 4th, 2008

Happy Fourth of July GoDCers!

Enjoy your day celebrating the Fourth of July! Source: Library of Congress

Detailed 1861 Map of Prince George’s County

Here is a great old map of Prince George’s County, done in 1861. Source: Library of Congress

Photograph shows cargo ships at the wharf in Alexandria, Virginia from Pioneer Mill, which was six stories high.

Incredible Detailed View of Alexandria Wharf in 1865

What an incredible photograph, dug up at the Library of Congress. This is from May, 1865.

Photograph shows the president's rail car at the Alexandria station. Photograph probably taken in Jan. The car was later used as Lincoln's funeral car.

President’s Railroad Car at Alexandria Station

This is the President’s official railroad car in 1865, likely taken around January. Four months later, the car would be used as Lincoln’s funeral car.

Photograph shows soldiers inside prison area where slaves were held.

The War For the Union – A Slave Pen in Alexandria

This is an incredible stereographic card, taken during the Civil War. It’s a powerful image of an Alexandria slave pen. Source: Library of Congress

Two young carrying-in boys in Alexandria (Va.) Glass Factory. Frank Clark (on left) 702 N. Patrick St., could neither read nor write, having been to school only a few weeks in his life. Two older brothers work in glass factory, and his father is a candy maker. Frank is working on night shift this week. Ashby Corbin (on right), 413 N. St. Asaph St. Has had only four terms of schooling. See also photos and labels 2260 to 2271. Location: Alexandria, Virginia.

Amazing Photos of Boys Working at the Alexandria Glass Company

This is one of those amazing photographs that you can stare at for hours, just wondering who these two boys were. We dug up an amazing series of photographs at the Library of Congress, showing the...

Walter Johnson's wife buried. This photograph was taken at the funeral of Mrs. Walter Johnson, wife of the manager of the Washington baseball club. Those in the picture, reading from left to right, include: Mrs. Frank N. Johnson of Coffeyville, Kas., his mother; Walter Johnson; Edwin Johnson, a son; Edwin R. Roberts, Mayor of Reno candidate for the governorship of Nevada, Mrs. Johnson's father; Carolyn and Robert, two of the younger Johnson children, and at the extreme right, the Rev. Joseph E. Williams, pastor of the Bethesda, Md. Episcopal Church, where the Johnsons worshipped

This Is So Sad. Walter Johnson Buries His Wife Hazel.

Source: Library of Congress Hazel Johnson (née Hazel Lee Roberts) was only 36 years old when she succumbed to heatstroke on August 1st, 1930. It was such a tragic death for the wife of Washington great...

"Dome Oil Co., Takoma Park." In Maryland in 1921, a gritty diorama of the Petroleum Age.

Dome Gas in Takoma

This photo is of the old Dome gas service station in Takoma (or possibly Takoma Park). The caption says Takoma Park, but according to this page, the location was at Cedar and Blair, just inside the...

The Anacostia Bank, 2021 Nichols Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C., decorated for a parade

Then and Now: The Anacostia Bank

This is a great image that we dug up in the Library of Congress archives. The photo is from around 1918. It’s the old Anacostia Bank, which is still standing. Source: Library of Congress Now check...

Fidel Castro Visits Meridian Hill

Really? I bet you’re thinking this is a truly bizarre image. It shows a 32-year-old Fidel Castro (read the letter he wrote as a teenager to FDR) in Meridian Hill Park holding 16-month-old Sherry Robin Hayes....

Photo shows the mansion called Falkland, built in the 1850s as a summer residence and burned by either Confederate troops or camp followers on July 12, 1864.

Ruins of Montgomery Blair’s Home at Silver Spring

This is a photograph of Montgomery Blair’s home, known as Falkland, burnt on July 12th, 1864. Also, don’t forget to read our post on how Silver Spring got it’s name. Source: Library of Congress

Washington, D.C., 1921. "Whistle car." A truck filled with Whistle, the "beverage wrapped in bottles." National Photo Company glass negative.

10,000 Bottles of Whistle

We dug this photo up on Shorpy and it shows a truck loaded down with 10,000 bottles of Whistle, orange soda. I’m trying to make out the building numbers behind it, but no luck. Anyone know...

LBJ sent this photo to Lady Bird during their courtship. The caption reads "For Bird--A lovely girl with ideals, principles, intelligence, and refinement from her sincere admirer, Lyndon" (Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)

Lyndon Johnson’s Love Letters to Lady Bird

We found this photo at the National Archives. It was sent by Lyndon Johnson to his love, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor. Source: U.S. National Archives

Renwick Gallery around 1920

Renwick Gallery With Streetcars Passing on Pennsylvania Avenue

Here is a nice photograph we found in the Smithsonian archives. Source: Smithsonian

Photographers on platform above crowd at Charles A. Lindbergh speech at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

Charles Lindbergh Receives Distinguished Flying Cross at Washington Monument

We dug this photo up at the Library of Congress. It shows the crowd at the Washington Monument, listening to a speech by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Just a few weeks prior, Lindbergh had successfully flown...

1938 policeman from New Mexico

Officer Commandeers Car to Pursue Fugitive

This is a wild story we dug up in the Washington Post. It was published on June 5th, 1938. Private Ernest Cullenber, of Park Police, yesterday made a story-book arrest. Clinging in the running-board of a...

Palo Alto Hotel and Saloon - September 19th, 1899

Birth of the Cocktail at the Palo Alto Hotel?

Source: DC Public Library Above is a great photo that we dug up on Flickr. The saloon above is the famous old Palo Alto Tavern, formerly located in Bladensburg, Maryland. It was across the street from...

Washington, from the presidents house: vue de Washington, prise de la maison du president / Washington vom hause des prasidenten gesehn

1848 View From the President’s House

This is a great print from 1848, showing the view looking south and west from the White House. Source: Library of Congress Update: Oops, the comment below is correct. This is east, not west. I should...