Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

Civil War Bird’s Eye View of Washington Area

One of the first GoDCers, John, sent along an awesome old maps site a few days ago, appropriately named Old Maps Online. Poking around the site this past weekend (I was in a big map phase),...

annual dinner of the American Engineering Council (1937)

American Engineering Council’s Annual Dinner at the Mayflower Hotel (1937)

This room is full of middle-aged white dudes. The photograph below (courtesy of the Library of Congress) is the annual dinner of the American Engineering Council at the Mayflower Hotel, held in 1937. Their annual meeting...

Healy Hall at Georgetown University (source: The Bully Pulpit)

Prank Kills Georgetown Student

This is a tragic story we came across in the Washington Post, from November 19th, 1912. This is the story of prank gone horribly wrong at Georgetown University. Climbing out on a narrow ledge on the...

View from the 2nd story of the residence of Mrs. Comre. John Rodgers, Franklin Row, K Street at 12 & 13 Sts, Washington, D.C., overlooking the backyard and adjacent neighborhood, and showing children standing on balconies

What K Street Looked Like in 1850

The watercolor below was painted by Montgomery Meigs in 1850. It depicts a slightly more bucolic and peaceful life on K St. Take a look at a map of the area from 1888. This is the...

Carver Barracks on Meridian Hill during the Civil War

Carver Barracks on Meridian Hill During the Civil War

Below is an amazing photograph of Carver Barracks on Meridian Hill during the Civil War. In the background, you can see Columbian College (i.e., George Washington University). You may recognize this from the Cultural Tourism D.C....

1201 S St. NW

If Walls Could Talk: The Coffee Bar

Ghosts of DC has a new favorite coffee joint at 1201 S St. NW. I went down this past Saturday with Mrs. Ghost and ran into Ms. EatMore DrinkMore (aka, Jenna). Maybe an “If Walls Could...

view southeast from the U.S. Capitol

Southeast View from the Capitol Dome

Happy Sunday. Below is an amazing photograph, taken around 1880 from the top of the U.S. Capitol. The view is southeast, down Pennsylvania Ave., toward the Anacostia River. It includes a block of five homes at...

Civil War map of Confederate fortifications outside Washington

1861 Line of Rebel Fortifications Outside Washington

Happy Saturday GoDCers! We are digging through old maps to post next week, and we uncovered some great old Civil War maps in the Boston Public Library archives, including this one of the rebel fortifications just...

Teddy Roosevelt in 1902 (Library of Congress)

Lost Ring, If Found, Return to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

On Friday, July 3rd, 1902, Teddy Roosevelt went for a hike in Rock Creek Park with General Leonard Wood and his entourage. The President’s love for Rock Creek was well known, as he spent countless hours wandering...

The Jefferson Pier

Why Is It Named Meridian Hill?

This is a great bit of Washington trivia for everyone to commit to memory … especially if you live anywhere along 16th St. NW. Pierre L’Enfant had originally planned the City of Washington around a right...

Washington Post classifieds - March 29th, 1879

March 29th, 1879: Witness the Dawn of a New Era

Maybe this is a little hyperbolic, but that was the ad for the National Clothing Company, at the corner of 7th and D St. NW. Check out this page from the Washington Post classified pages on...

homes on Klingle Road - June 16th, 1922 (Washington Post)

New Klingle Road Homes Completed and Sold

We dug up this great ad for some Mt. Pleasant home in the Washington Post. This was published on June 18th, 1922. Here is the same row of homes today on Google Street View. [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?gl=us&ie=UTF8&ll=38.933225,-77.045424&spn=0.004957,0.010568&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=38.933134,-77.045335&panoid=65fhGTJ5gFKO5bvC7lf6Vw&cbp=13,290.31,,0,-2.56&source=embed&output=svembed]

Photograph of President Truman and French President Charles de Gaulle, during welcoming ceremonies on the White House lawn, with officers saluting in the background. (August 22nd, 1945)

Charles de Gaulle: First White House Visitor Following World War II Peace

Americans love France, but we hate the French. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, but we do have a very bizarre relationship with France. It’s kind of unfair, given that they pretty much legitimized the...

Bell Atlantic sign

First DSL Lines Arrive in Washington Area

The Internet connection in the Ghosts of DC house is sucky. We have Verizon DSL and we are patiently awaiting the arrival of FIOS (what is taking so damn long?). While I was waiting for the...

1791 L'Enfant Plan of the new city

Why Is There No J Street in DC?

In the English alphabet, the letter J looked too much like the letter I. The alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and there is no letter J in Latin.

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "Panama Legation, New Hampshire Avenue and Q Street N.W." 18th Street is on the left and New Hampshire Avenue on the right. This is one of the earliest examples of a stop sign ("Boulevard Stop") in the archive. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

Panama Legation at New Hampshire and Q St. (1925)

What a beautiful building. Sadly, this building no longer exists. Take a look at the same intersection today on Google Street View. [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?gl=us&ie=UTF8&ll=38.911405,-77.041679&spn=0.005017,0.010568&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=38.911405,-77.041679&panoid=Vv2YBHAEv5bmubFc4dx_7Q&cbp=12,212.54,,0,-1.1&source=embed&output=svembed]

1936 streetcar map

New 1936 Streetcar Map

Look at this great route map we uncovered from 1936. This shows the major streetcar routes in 1936.

Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway one-way hours (Wikipedia)

When Did Rock Creek Parkway Become One-Way?

If you drive to work downtown and live somewhere up in Northwest D.C., you might be one of the thousands of people who drive down the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway (the formal name), one of...