Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

Washington street in 1919

Need Your Help. Identify This Street

Any GoDCers out there recognize this block? I’m guessing that most of these buildings are gone, but maybe that church is still around? Source: Smithsonian Institution Archives

Looking toward the west side of the United States Capitol building, a panoramic view of the city of Washington, D.C. shows the Mall area in the foreground before the railroad tracks were removed. A train is visible on the tracks. The domed structure in front of the Capitol is the Botanic Garden original octagonal greenhouse of 1859 and behind it the central pavilion added after the Civil War. The buildings were razed in 1932. The Botanic Garden was on a site previously occupied by the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Wow. Stunning Black and White Photo of the Capitol

This one is amazing. Thanks to the Smithsonian for posting it online. The caption says this is around 1900. Source: Smithsonian Archives

At the turn of the century, visitors are entering and leaving the United States National Museum Building, now Arts and Industries Building, via the North Entrance. The entrance has glass doors, which dates it to before the Hornblower and Marshall designed doors installed between 1902-1907

Visitors Head to the Smithsonian in the Early 1900s

This is an old photograph we dug up on the Smithsonian’s Flickr feed. It shows a crowd of people near the entrance to the Arts and Industries Building, around 1905.

This landscape image features the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., two of the capital's most recognizable landmarks (date unknown)

Old Man Fishing With Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument in the Background

Great photo. Speaks for itself. Sadly, no larger version. Thanks Smithsonian.

front page of the Washington Times - May 16th, 1912

May 16th, 1912: More Baldheaded Women Than Men, Says Authority

Also of interest in this edition is Roosevelt being sure of his nomination.

view down Pennsylvania Ave. NW

A View of Old Washington Down Pennsylvania Avenue

Here is another excellent photo of Pennsylvania Ave., also from the 1920s. We did a little Googling for this one too and came across it here.

winter driving in DC

Winter Driving on Pennsylvania Avenue

This is a cool old photo that we dug up via Google. We found it here. It appears to be some time in the 1920s, looking down Pennsylvania Ave. towards the Capitol.

West Executive Ave. and the Washington Monument (1919)

Great Photo of West Wing and Washington Monument

Doing a little evening photo surfing and came across this stunning one from the Smithsonian’s archives. The building on the left is the West Wing and the one on the right is the State, War and...

front page of the Washington Times - May 15th, 1912

May 15th, 1912: Taft Depressed By Poor Showing, May Quit Race

Taft and Roosevelt were battling it out for the Presidency in 1912. Here’s the front page of the Washington Times for May 15th, 101 years ago today.

front page of the Washington Times - May 14th, 1912

May 14th, 1912: House Concurs in Direct Elections of Senators

Here is the second day of our “In the Paper” installment for this week. Here is the evening edition of the Washington Times from exactly 101 years ago.

traffic heading down Route 1 (1940)

I Hate Traffic … in 1940

Here’s an interesting shot of traffic heading up Route 1 towards Maryland. To be honest, this traffic doesn’t look bad at all.

front page of the Washington Times - May 13th, 1912

May 13th, 1912: Boy’s Body Recovered From Potomac

This week, we’re going to post the front and back page of the Washington Times from the week of May 13th, 1912, exactly 101 years ago today. Why didn’t we do 100 years? Because May 13th,...

Department of Treasury (1910) - Library of Congress

Great Photo of the Treasury Department in 1910

What an amazing, detailed photograph of the Treasury building.

Photograph shows the ruins of a store in Washington, D.C., that was destroyed during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Help Us Identify This: Riot Damaged Store

I see 1806 as the address for the American Rescue Workers Thrift Store. Is this 14th St.? 7th St.? Can anyone identify the location of this image and whether the buildings are there today? UPDATE: Thanks...

July 31, 1921. Washington, D.C. "Pie eating contest at Tidal Basin bathing beach." In the back row: the blurry but unmistakable facial contours of Iola Swinnerton. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

Pie Eating Bathing Beauties

Oh, it’s been too long since we posted some bathing beauties. Well, today we post pie-eating bathing beauties.

1795 Plan of the City of Washington

Awesome: Plan of the City of Washington (1795)

Another amazing map, courtesy of David Rumsey. The map is based on the first official plan of the city, published by Andrew Ellicott in 1792. Source: David Rumsey map collection.

Sylvia Altman

10-Year-Old Girl Enters Central High School

This is an interesting article that we came across, published in the Washington Post on February 10th, 1924. A 10-year-old student in high school! She is Sylvia Altman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Altman, 612...

cameramen posing in front of the State, War, and Navy Building

Cameramen at the State, War, and Navy Building (1920)

This photo was taken on March 15th, 1920 at the State, War, and Navy Building. It shows a group of press cameramen, posing in front of the building.