Faces & Places of Yesterday

Photos of yesterday, featuring regular people and regular places.

Washington, D.C. "At 7 a.m. on June 21, 1942, the day before stricter gas rationing was enforced, cars were pouring into this gas station on upper Wisconsin Avenue." If they still made cars that looked like this Packard, we'd run right out and buy one. Photo by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information.

1942 Photo of Friendship Heights Gas Station

Here’s a cool old World War II-era photograph of Friendship Heights. It shows the old gas station at 5252 Wisconsin Ave. NW, owned by the McDowell family. Source: Shorpy Today, the spot is the location of...
Washington, D.C., circa 1922. "Star Building from air." The Washington Star newspaper building at the center is at the intersection of 11th Street N.W. and Pennsylvania Avenue, which runs diagonally across the photo. The big building with the tower us the Old Post Office. There's a lot to see here, including laundry hung out to dry. National Photo Company glass negative.

Whoa! Incredible 1922 Aerial Photograph of Pennsylvania Avenue

This is incredible. No commentary needed. Just make sure you click on it for greater detail. Source: Shorpy
1939 photograph next to the railroad tracks

Cars Parked Along Railroad Tracks on Virginia Ave.

This is an old photo showing a row of parked cars along Virginia Ave. SW. Check out the Google Street View below. Source: Shorpy [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?cbp=12,87.63,,0,4.65&layer=c&panoid=AbrZdO7-MJlqHhyJ3styhA&cbll=38.8855,-77.021597&dg=opt&ie=UTF8&ll=38.853612,-76.980515&spn=0.341689,0.724411&t=m&z=11&source=embed&output=svembed]
Old Main Building

Howard University Old Main Building in 1860s

Here are two great old photos of Howard University’s Old Main Building.
Le coin de F. Street Washington vis-à-vis nôtre maison été de 1817.

What F Street Looked Like in 1817

Check this out. This is a French drawing from the early 19th century. It looks a little different than today. I don’t see the J. Crew.
400 block of unknown street

Hey GoDCers, Where Is This Building?

Does this building still stand? I can see the “435” on the transom, but I’m not quite sure where this is. Let’s see if the GoDC community can identify this spot and send us the Google...
woman and carriage in front of store

GoDCers, Please Help Identify This Building

Okay, we need the collective power of the GoDC community. The best clue in the photo is the “1743” … where is this, and does the building still exist? Post your thoughts in the comments below....
Washington, D.C., 1920. "729 12th St., Washington Times." Various shades of Twelfth Street. National Photo Co. Collection glass negative.

What Did Metro Center Look Like in 1920?

This is a great old photo from 1920, showing the 700 block of 12th St. NW. Today, this is the area around Metro Center. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the look of the...
Washington, D.C., 1923. "City houses." One in a series of Harris & Ewing plates documenting the national capital's poorer quarters.

Run Down Old Home in 1923

Here’s a photo from a very different time here in D.C., where you could find homes like the one below. Source: Shorpy
Washington, D.C., 1913. "E.F. Droop & Sons Co. music store."

Amazing View of 13th and G Streets in 1913

This block looks extremely different today. Back then, you would find E.F. Droop & Sons music store and Stiebel’s. Source: Shorpy Today, it’s the area around Metro Center. [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?cbp=12,222.43,,1,-4.56&layer=c&panoid=njc-i8b9j94uVG3q3VXCRQ&cbll=38.898314,-77.029783&dg=opt&ie=UTF8&ll=38.866444,-76.988754&spn=0.36515,0.545883&t=m&z=11&source=embed&output=svembed]
Washington branch office of Ford - current location of the Canadian Embassy

What Did D.C. Look Like in 1916?

Here are some great images shared with us by GoDCer Adam. These are from Ford Motor Company’s archives showing Washington around 1916.
West side of Blagden Alley 1923

Another Great Photo of Alley Row Houses (1923)

Here’s a great shot of row houses in Blagden Alley. Check out the other photo we posted earlier this week. Source: Shorpy
Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Curb work -- car stop on 14th Street N.W." Streetcar infrastructure. Harris & Ewing glass negative.

View of 14th Street Construction From Above (1920)

This is a cool photo we found on Shorpy. It shows a few men doing work on the curbs and streetcar stop. Any GoDCers able to recognize where this is on 14th? I can make out...
"City rowhouses, 1923." A jumble of humble abodes. The latest installment in our survey of backstreet Washington, D.C., this glass plate is another angle on the alley last seen here. Harris & Ewing Collection.

Blagden Alley in 1923

This is D.C., back when alley living was still permitted. Source: Shorpy
Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "551-53-55 Randolph St. N.W." We'll take the one next to the castle. National Photo Company glass negative.

Randolph Street Homes in 1920

Another great photo from Shorpy … this time showing three homes on Randolph St. NW. Source: Shorpy And, the best part is that the three homes still stand today.
Georgetown baseball game

Georgetown University Baseball Game (1911)

Who doesn’t love a good game of baseball? Here’s a great shot of a game being played on the Georgetown University grounds in 1900. Source: Georgetown University Library
Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, presents an honorary degree to Governor William S. Flynn of Rhode Island at the Georgetown University commencement. Pictured, left to right: Pierce Butler, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; President Coolidge; John B. Creeden, S.J., President of Georgetown University; Governor Flynn; Walter J. O'Connor, University Registrar; and Andrew L. Bouwhuis, S.J.

Photo of Georgetown University Commencement in 1924

Here’s a cool shot of the graduating class of 1924, taken from above. Source: Georgetown University Library And here’s President Coolidge presenting an honorary degree to Governor Flynn of Rhode Island. Source: Georgetown University Library
Franklin Park in 1943

Soap Box Orations Banned in Franklin Park

Evidently, in the first half of the 20th century, Franklin Park was the place to go air your grievances with whatever entity was keeping you down (i.e., The Man). It was to the point in the...