Washington, DC history

The lost and untold history of Washington, DC.

James Brown Said It Loud At Nixon’s Inauguration

James Brown performed “Say It Loud – I’m Black And I’m Proud” at Richard Nixon’s 1969 inauguration.  Wait.  What?  Believe it.  The Godfather of Soul chose that particular song to celebrate the Republican president’s transition to power. Confusingly,...

Newspaper row in 1874

Washington’s Newspaper Row in 1874

Below is a great engraving from Harper’s back in 1874. It depicts the old newspaper row in Washington.

Kalorama estate after the fire in 1865 (Library of Congress)

A Kalorama “Pic-Nic” With Wild, Romantic Scenery

“Kalorama” is a Greek word meaning “fine view.” It’s also the name given to one of the finest neighborhoods in Washington. Here is a quick “Why is it Named…?” The neighborhood takes its name from an...

World War I mortar bomb

Boys Find 10-Pound Bomb on Playground

Chalk this up to recent GoDC convert Lisa, who dug this up a while ago while looking for information on her grandfather. It’s always great to find a connection to your past, but when the story...

Takoma advertisement in the Sunday Herald - June 14th, 1891

Why is it Named Takoma? … and Some History

Takoma Park (and Takoma) is a lovely and friendly neighborhood on the northeast District line with Maryland. It dates back to the late 19th century, when Benjamin Franklin Gilbert, both founder and first mayor of Takoma...

The Washington Times on April 15th, 1912

April 15th, 1912: Titanic Kept Afloat, Being Towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia

This was the front page of the Washington Times in the evening of Monday, April 15th, 1912. It’s rather haunting seeing this today, over a hundred years later. Many Washingtonians likely went to bed thinking things...

C&O Canal in 1860

1860 Photograph of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

This is a nice contribution by GoDCer Allan. Below is a shot of the C&O Canal, taken by Mathew Brady, taken in 1860.

Ghost Dog at the old Capitol columns in the National Arboretum (looking for stories)

Ghost Dog Visits the National Arboretum to Dig Up Three Stories

The National Arboretum is an underappreciated gem in the heart of Northeast D.C. About two miles from the Capitol Building, situated on New York Ave., it covers 446 acres and has been in operation since 1927....

1930 assessment map of Alexandria

1930 Assessment Map of Alexandria

More maps! Below is a great assessment map of Alexandria and Arlington County.

Sam Houston

Houston, We Have Our First Senator

The United States annexed Texas in 1845 and Sam Houston was elected with Thomas Jefferson Rusk to become the Longhorn State’s first two Senators. The former President of the Republic of Texas, and one of only...

1804 Kearney St. NE in 1921

1804 Kearney St. NE

What a terrific photo of a home in Northeast. This is 1804 Kearney St. NE. Check out the Google Street View of the same property today. It’s not a great angle because the straight-on shot has...

Washington, D.C., circa 1937. "Jean Wallace." The daughter of Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture and future Vice President, at the Wardman Park Hotel pool.

Vice President’s Daughter in a Swimsuit

Click on the link because of the title? Perv. Anyway, this is a photo of Jean Wallace, the daughter of Henry Wallace, who was FDR‘s Vice President before he was dumped for Harry Truman. This was...

gardeners sweeping the White House lawn

Sweeping the White House Lawn

Why are these men sweeping the South Lawn? I have no idea. This photo was taken some time in the 1920s. Actually, just kidding. Those aren’t push brooms, they are bull rakes … at least according...

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Aerial view looking toward Capitol and Washington Monument." National Photo Company Collection glass negative.

Aerial View of the Red Cross Building

In the foreground, you can see the Red Cross building and in the background, the Washington Monument and the Old Post Office Building. Click on the photo for a larger image. Off in the distance, you...

Washington, D.C., circa 1938. "Patrick Brennan, son of the Minister of Ireland, and Mrs. Brennan." Or something like that. One of a series of photographs depicting children of various diplomats speaking from their homes to a radio audience. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Little Irish Diplomat Gives Radio Address

Bizarre title? Check out this great pic of the Irish Minister’s son (and cat) giving a brief radio address from his home. Yes, really. The post even reported on it back in December 1938. Christmas Broadcast...

Topographical sketch of the environs of Washington, D.C. : (survey of locality for public park & site for a presidential mansion) / to accompany report of N. Michler, Major of Eng'rs, Bvt. Brig. Gen'l U.S.A.

Four New Sites for the White House

Last week we posted a detailed topographical map of Rock Creek Park from 1866. There were some great comments on it, including GoDCer Elizabeth’s observation that the map was entitled “Location for a Public Park & Site...

Sanborn fire insurance map of Washington Circle in 1888

Map of Washington Circle in 1888

Below is the Sanborn fire map for Washington Circle in 1888. It’s pretty amazing to see how many residential structures there are at the time. Not only that, but quite a few of them were frame...

The jury that tried Millie Gaines in 1869 for the murder of a white man, and freed her on an insanity please. It was composed of six colored and six white men. This was the first murder trial in the District in which a mixed jury sat. Reading from left to right seated; 2, David Fisher; 4, the Rev. James D. Reed; 6, Leonard C. Bailey. Standing from left to right; 2, Charles Humphries; 4, John A. Gray; 6, Herbert Harris (The Baltimore Afro-American - May 4th, 1935)

First Racially Mixed Jury in Washington

Now this is a truly historic and fascinating story from the annals of untold D.C. history. About a week ago, GoDCer Kicha sent us a great tip on a story from 1869. The story includes an...