Faces & Places of Yesterday

Photos of yesterday, featuring regular people and regular places.

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.
"Election night crowd at White House, November 1920." The chosen one was Warren Harding. National Photo Company glass negative.

1920 Election Night Celebrations at the White House

Take a look at the crowd in front of the White House on Election Night 1920. The elation is palpable as the crowd exudes utter joy and relief that eight years of Woodrow Wilson are over...
September 15, 1922. Clarence Sherrill, son of the Washington, D.C., superintendent of public buildings. National Photo Co.

Street Luging in Adams Morgan

Below is a great photograph that we found on Shorpy. The young boy riding down the hill is Clarence Sherrill, Jr., son of Col. Clarence Sherrill, the superintendent of public buildings in D.C. At the time...

Newspaper Boys at the Capitol in 1912

Below is a photograph of five newspaper boys in front of the Capitol Building. It’s always great to see these photos accompanied with the names of those in the picture. We’ll see what we can dig...
April 1865. Washington, D.C. "John C. Howard's stable on G Street between 6th and 7th, where John H. Surratt kept horses before leaving town on April 1." From photographs pertaining to the assassination of President Lincoln, April-July 1865. Wet plate glass negative, photographer unknown.

ZipHorse or Horse2Go?

Have trouble finding a horse to get groceries? Want to get out town for the weekend?  Look no further than John C. Howard’s stable on G St. This is another incredible photo from the 1860s with...
1919. "U.S. Army. Return of Washington, D.C., soldiers." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Soldier Returns Home From World War I

Here’s a powerful photo. The soldier looks absolutely thrilled to be back and hold, what appears to be, his baby. The baby, on the other hand, not so thrilled to be handled.
The Mason House on Analoston Island - 1903

The Mason House on Analoston Island

Here is a great contribution from GoDCer Mike. This property was purchased by Johanna O’Neil Copperthite and Henry was thanked personally by T.R. when he was elected president. We were always told that this island was donated to...

Thanksgiving in Park View (1924)

Here’s a photo we dug up on Shorpy. This is Park View in 1924, just before Thanksgiving. The man appears to be looking for the perfect bird for the family feast.
Washington, D.C., circa 1937. Exterior of the Happy News Cafe (described in a 1933 news item as "the new dietitian restaurant for the unemployed") at 1727 Seventh Street N.W. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Happy News Cafe on 7th St. in 1937

This is a photo from Shorpy of Happy News Cafe at 1727 7th St. NW. … and the best part, is that the building is still there, albeit, slightly altered. [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?q=1727+7th+st+nw+dc&layer=c&sll=38.913660,-77.021496&cbp=13,81.76,,0,-3.59&cbll=38.913657,-77.021924&gl=us&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=1727+7th+St+NW,+Washington,+District+of+Columbia+20001&ll=38.91366,-77.021496&spn=0.004433,0.010568&t=m&z=14&iwloc=A&panoid=atG_wnyFip90fJVA6dd3ig&source=embed&output=svembed]
Lincoln movie poster

Abraham Lincoln and The Black Code of the District of Columbia

I recently saw “Lincoln” with Mrs. Ghosts and was blown away by the history and power of the film. A number of visually stunning scenes depicted life in Washington during the waning years of the Civil...
Catholic University basketball team in 1923

1923 Catholic University Basketball Team

This is a photo of Catholic University‘s basketball team in 1923. The photo was taken in the old gymnasium, which is now the school of architecture (according to Shorpy).
Arlington Bathing Beach in 1923

Arlington’s Beach on the Potomac

Hard to believe it, but back in the 1920s, Arlington had a beach. Here’s a shot of the amusement park on the Potomac River (near where the Pentagon is today) around 1925. And here is another...
1917. Arlington, Virginia. "Fort Myer officer training camp mess." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

The Smiling Army Cook

Great photo. You can’t help but smile back when you look at it. The guy in the photo is an army cook at Ft. Myer in 1917. I only wish I had a name and story...
Washington, D.C., or vicinity circa 1915-1930. One of three H&E glass negatives labeled "Car exterior. Washington & Old Dominion R.R." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

Ghost Railroad Car #4928

This is a great afternoon photo for you to lose yourself in. Click on it for a larger version. We found this gem on Shorpy and you can follow the interesting conversation in their comments about...
November 24, 1924. Washington, D.C. "Bonus Bureau, Computing Division. Many clerks figure the amount of the bonus each veteran is entitled to."

High Powered Computing Circa 1924

This is what a high-powered computing operation looked like in 1924. This was crowdsourcing before it existed.
Washington, D.C., 1921. "Times boy and bicycle." Winner of a Mead Ranger bike by virtue of selling 30 newspaper subscriptions. The Ranger contest was a promotion of various papers from about 1917 to 1923. National Photo Co. Collection.

Sweet Bike … Pissed Kid

His bike looks sweet. Why does he look so pissed?
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