Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

1860s view of Washington DC

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Pastoral View of Washington in the 1860s

Take a look at this photograph. You should be able to make out the Old Patent Office in the background.

Washington, D.C. in 1973

Faces & Places of Yesterday

1973 Aerial View of Downtown Washington

Check out this cool shot of D.C. back in 1973. You can see the White House, Lafayette Park, the Washington Monument, and the Potomac. Source: Flickr user usnationalarchives

M Street in 1959

Faces & Places of Yesterday

View Down M Street in 1959

This is a terrific photo, courtesy of DDOT. Source: Flickr user ddotphotos

unfinished Washington Monument in 1874

Notable People & Places

The Egyptian Obelisk of Murder Bay

Below is a scathing letter to the editor by Clark Mills. You may recognize that name, because he’s the guy who did the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park. We dug this interesting piece up...

downtown Washington at F St. in 1942

Faces & Places of Yesterday

D.C. Subway is Predicted in 1941

Here is a fascinating article we dug up in the Washington Post from April 8th, 1941. At the time, only Boston, New York and Philadelphia had subways. Of course, our country was thrown into World War...

aerial view of RFK stadium

Notable People & Places

Aerial View of RFK Stadium in the 1960s

We found this gem of a photo on Flickr. Source: Flickr user ddotphotos

11th and Kenyon St. NW in 1951

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Awesome 1951 Photo of 11th and Kenyon

This is a great shot of what Columbia Heights looked like in 1951 (according the the label). It’s the intersection where, today, you’ll find Wonderland and the soccer field behind Tubman. The streetcar tracks are running...

F St. in 1970

Faces & Places of Yesterday, The Best Of

Whoa. Neon Signed F Street in 1970

What a different city D.C. was back then. Check out this photo from DDOT. Source: Flickr user ddotphotos

The Museum. Birth-place. 18th + K Sts, N.W. 1879-1882. Bound in a copy of "Catalogue of The Exhibits in the Museum of Hygiene. Medical Department of the United States Navy." Compiled by Philip S. Wales, Medical Director, U.S.N. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.

Faces & Places of Yesterday, From GoDCers

U.S. Navy Medical Museum Back to 1879

GoDCer, and avid history buff, Mike sent over these great images the other week. I’m finally getting to post these, but take a look and see how great they are. Fascinating old history of the Naval...

Civil Rights March in Washington, DC

Historical Events

Crowd at the Civil Rights March in 1963

Here’s a great photo from August 28th, 1963 showing the crowd at the Civil Rights March.

Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Washington Battery Co., L Street." We saw the garage earlier in this post. National Photo Co. glass negative.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Willard Service Station at 19th and L Streets

Here are two excellent photos from 1919 depicting the old service station (no longer there, of course) at 19th and L St.  

"Arlington National Cemetery, 1922." With the USS Maine Memorial rising at left. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Solemn Visit to Arlington Cemetery in 1922

This is a powerful photo that speaks for itself.

Aug. 8, 1936. Washington, D.C. "Safety first for this Miss. Equipped with bumpers fore and aft, 4-year-old Betty Buck is taking no unnecessary chances as she tries her first pair of roller skates." Harris & Ewing glass negative.

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Innovative Pillow Safety: Little Girl on Skates

We’re back after a Memorial Day break, refreshed and ready to go! If you fall with pillows wrapped around you, it won’t hurt … at least that’s what this little girl hopes.

View of the Center Market of Washington, D.C. from the north entrance of the United States National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History, on October 16, 1909. There are horse-drawn carriages and carts, vendors, storefronts, and the Old Post Office is in background, center. In the foreground is the large wooden gate to the grounds of the Natural History Building and a small guard house next to it

Faces & Places of Yesterday

1909 Views Near Center Market

We are digging up all sorts of great images on the Smithsonian’s site. Here’s one near Center Market with a view of the Old Post Office Pavilion in the background.  

Looking south from the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 11th Street, the silhouette of the Smithsonian Institution Building is seen in the distance. The photograph, taken by William Henry Holmes and signed "W.H.H. Phot.," shows horse-drawn carriages along the avenue of storefronts. Above the first building to the right of 11th Street, the sign reads "Latimer & Cleary Auction and Commission Merchants", the next building has a sign "Star Buildings," and the third building "Metropolitan."

Faces & Places of Yesterday

Smithsonian Institution Building from Pennsylvania Avenue in 1874

We are loving the Smithsonian Archives! This is a great one from 1874.

Farragut Square in 1919

Notable People & Places

A Very Different Farragut Square With Flowers and Trees

This is definitely not what the square looks like today. This series of photos, courtesy of the Smithsonian, depict a far more tranquil and pleasant Farragut Square back in 1919.

Aerial view from the Washington Monument showing the "Tempos" or temporary buildings before their demolition. They were located on the site of the future National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT), now the National Museum of American History (NMAH)

Notable People & Places

Temporary Wartime Buildings on the Mall as Viewed from the Washington Monument

This is a view from the top of the Washington Monument, sometime late in 1940s. You’ll see old temporary buildings occupying the current site of the Museum of American History.

front page of the Washington Times - May 17th, 1912

In the Paper, This Day in History

May 17th, 1912: Two Cranks Call to See President Taft

Here’s the Thursday edition of “In the Paper” for May 17th, 1912.