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Faces & Places of Yesterday

Photos of yesterday, featuring regular people and regular places.

Panorama of Washington, D.C. in 1865

This is an excellent high resolution photograph of Washington from the Civil War. It’s a view of the city as seen from 14th an B St. NW (i.e., Constitution Ave.) in 1865. Thanks again to the Library...
moving the old Girl Scouts headquarters south of the White House

Girl Scouts’ Home Picked Up and Moved

This is an interesting photo which we found in the Library of Congress archives. The image is from 1924 when the old headquarters for the Girl Scouts of America was being moved. No small feat, as...
Horse car in Washington, D.C. at Wisconsin and O St. NW (1889)

Horsecar at Intersection in Georgetown

Below is a terrific photo taken in 1893. This is the intersection (today) of Wisconsin and O St. NW in Georgetown. The main building you see on the corner is still there. Check out the Google...
View of Washington and the Potomac from Georgetown in 1865

View of Washington from Georgetown Heights in 1865

It’s often hard to believe how rural much of Washington appeared in the 19th century. This is one of those photographs that you marvel at for a while. The image shows a view of Washington, down...

1863 Photograph Down New Jersey Ave.

This is an incredible view down New Jersey Ave. in 1863. The caption reads: Southeast view with New Jersey Ave. on the right and A Street and B Street (i.e., Independence Ave.) in the foreground; view...
taxi driver in Washington around 1935

Who Was This Taxi Driver?

What a great shot. I only wish we knew this guy’s name, where he lived, what he did and what happened to him. He was a taxi driver in Washington around 1935 when this photograph was...
Men and gun of 3d Massachusetts Heavy Artillery at ornamental gate of Fort Totten

When Ft. Totten Really Was a Fort

Have you ever wondered what Fort Totten looked like? Here is a photograph from just after the Civil War in 1865, showing men from the 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery at the fort’s gate.

The Flapper and Her Garter Flask

Hey, everyone’s gotta have some hooch or giggle water every now and then right? At least this young woman things so, stashing a flask right in her garter belt. Nobody will look down there.
a death warrant being read to inmate Wirz on the gallows

Hanging a Confederate War Criminal

Here is a macabre photo share for a rainy Sunday. A death warrant is being read to a man about to be hanged. The man on the gallows is Henry Wirz, a confederate captain, being executed...
Shoppers at the outdoor food market, 7th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. View looking up 7th Street, ca. 1900

Shoppers on Pennsylvania Ave. (1900)

Here’s a great photo to share on a lazy Saturday.

Christ Church in Alexandria During the Civil War

The next time you’re cruising around Alexandria, you need to swing by Christ Church. I hate to admit it, but prior to this photograph, I was not familiar with the church. Now, I will be heading...
Looking southwest at the Old Post Office Pavilion (far left), Southern Railway Building (middle), and District Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., in 1932. On in the fall of 1932, the structures in rear of the District Building would be razed to make way for the U.S. Department of Labor building, whose cornerstone would be laid on December 15, 1932

View from the Willard Hotel’s Roof

Wow. I think this photo speaks for itself. What an amazing shot of what would become Federal Triangle.

Merry Christmas From the Secretary of the Navy (1922)

The family below is celebrating, what appears to be, a very formal Christmas. Look how stiff the father is … he happens to be Edwin Denby, Secretary of the Navy. The 10-year-old boy in this photo...
Washington circa 1916. "Fairview Hotel, 1st Street and Florida Avenue." The proprietor is former slave and "colored philosopher" Keith Sutherland. See the comments below for more on him. Harris & Ewing glass negative.

Ex-King of Hell’s Bottom

“Keitt” Sutherland is definitely one of the top characters we have come across. And, I think it’s safe to say, Officer Sprinkle must have come across some of the ruffians from Hell’s Bottom in his time...
Old man selling strawberries on the street - 1900

Old Man Selling Strawberries on the Street

What a great photograph. We came across this one on Flickr.
Lafayette Park seen from the Old Executive Office Building in 1919 (RU007355 - Martin A. Gruber Photograph Collection, 1919-1924, Smithsonian Institution Archives )

The White House Gates Are Open to All

This is an odd scene, and one you would not see today. Below you’ll see a photo of Lafayette Square, taken from the Old Executive Office Building. The gates you see swung open are to West...
Washington, D.C., 1920. "Gripp, Mathew, [Nathan] Lahn, Troske -- Gallaudet U." Gridiron stars of the first college for the deaf, credited with inventing the football huddle in the 1920s as a way to keep its signed plays secret.

Gallaudet Football Invents the Huddle

According to legend, the Gallaudet football team invented the huddle as a means to prevent opposing teams from stealing their plays by reading their sign language. Below are four players from the 1920 Gallaudet University football...
September 1935. A closeup of the Washington, D.C., row house seen here over the weekend. "Front of old brick structure in section near Union Station. Land is low here and water collects in front and backyard after a rain and remains for many days. Entrances to privies are usually under water. Interior of homes similar in shabbiness to exterior." 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans for the Resettlement Administration.

Children of Poverty Near Union Station

Here’s a great photo from Shorpy. This shows a row of houses on Massachusetts Ave. near Union Station in 1935. And here is the photo of the the kids again, this time up close.