Lost History

These are sad stories about things that no longer exist in Washington, D.C.

At the bar at Warwick's Cafe, 13th St., NW near Pennsylvania Ave., 1894

Lost History: Warwick’s Saloon at 13th and Pennsylvania

Let’s do a little lost history again and dig into the old saloon history of our city. We found a great photo of an old saloon called Warwick’s, formerly located at 13th and Penn. Take a...
1835 map of Washington

Washington Almost Gave Georgetown Back to Maryland in 1839

Now here is an interesting article that we dug up in the old archives. We found an article in The Baltimore Sun, from January 28th, 1839, discussing the possibility of retroceding Georgetown to Maryland. Most of you...

Amazing 1950s Film Footage of D.C. Streetcars

This is some awesome footage of the old streetcar system here in D.C. from the 1950s. What’s really great is seeing some recognizable spots in the city, like the Dupont Underground, East Capitol St., and of...
3400 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Save This Historic D.C. Home

I came across the following Facebook post on Friday and was horrified to see the following post about the beautiful home at 3400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. It’s just awful that the new owner wants to tear down...
Historic American Buildings Survey Photographer unknown, c. 1938 EXTERIOR FROM SOUTH Copied from print in files of National Capital Region, National Park Service, Washington, D. C. - Godey Lime Kilns (Ruins), Junction of Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway, Washington, District of Columbia, DC

What Were the Godey Lime Kilns?

Have you driven up Rock Creek Parkway (when did it become one-way?) from the Watergate (check out this amazing aerial photo) and wondered what those bizarre stone structures were on the right as you pass Whitehurst...

House Bill Proposes Renaming D.C. to Reaganstown in 2005

Believe me, this came as a shock to us as well when we came across an article in the Washington Post about renaming the nation’s capital after the 40th president, Ronald Reagan. The proposal came from...

The Little Green House on K Street

This is a guest post by Angela Harrison Eng  At a first glance, there is nothing monumental about 1625 K Street NW. A bland building occupies the space, along with several nondescript businesses and a parking...
The Pennsylvania Avenue Childs around 1917

Before Fast Food, There Was Childs’ Food

This is a guest post by Angela Harrison Eng Before the modern fast food restaurant, there was Childs Restaurant. Childs was a chain that originated in New York City and spread southward, eventually opening franchises in...
Monument ("Washington Monument"), Washington, D.C. Rendered perspective

Washington Monument Could Have Looked Like This

We posted some great old alternative designs for the Lincoln Memorial a while back and they were quite popular. Well, we dug up one for the Washington Monument which you’ll surely enjoy. This one is dated...
View of house at 800 16th Street NW once occupied by Secretary of State John Hay (1898-1905).

Before the Hay-Adams Hotel

This is what stood on the corner of 16th and H St. before the iconic Hay-Adams Hotel. this was the home of former Secretary of State John Hay, who was also a private secretary and assistant...
Notice the decked/tunneled section south of Fort Totten, then the over 90-degree turn to the east, then the decked/tunneled section between Galloway Street and Gallatin Street, with the Metrorail Glenmont Route (Red Line trains) following the North Central Freeway (I-95 south of Fort Totten and I-70S north of Fort Totten), and with the Metrorail Greenbelt Route (Green Line trains) following the Northeast Freeway (I-95 east of Fort Totten). The area between Galloway Street and Gallatin Street where the Northeast Freeway was proposed was mostly open fields then and still is now.

Drawings of Proposed I-95 Through D.C.

Here are some terrific old maps from 1971 showing the remainder of what would have been I-95 cutting through D.C. Today, what is now 395, ends at New York Ave. NW. Source: Roads to the Future
Proposed 1968 highways

1968 War Over D.C. Interstate Highways

As you all know, D.C. is one of the only cities (if not the lone city) without an interstate highway cutting through the heart of it. I-395 makes its way all the way to New York...
View of the south and east elevations of a tavern, historically known as Tunnicliff's Tavern, at Pennsylvania Avenue and 9th Street SE.

Run Down Tunnicliff’s Tavern in 1929

This is such a cool old photo of Tunnicliff’s Tavern, taken in 1929. No, not this Tunnicliff’s … a much older one. Clearly the place had seen better days. Source: Dig DC
No scare at British Embassy. Washington, D.C., June 18. Despite the tense situation abroad and talk of the fifth columns on this side no increase has made in the police detail guarding the British Embassy here. A solitary minion of the law still guards the majestic building

Churchill Proposes Unifying French and British Empires to Fight Nazi Germany

Here’s a shot of the British Embassy before the U.S. entry into World War II. The photo was taken four days after Paris fell to the Nazis. Source: Library of Congress According to The Washington Post printed...
Proposed design for Smithsonian Institution Building by John Notman, north front elevation. It is a Gothic design with three stories, a central tower/cupola, crenellated embattlements, and symmetrical wings. The design was submitted for the competition sponsored by the Building Committee of the Board of Regents, December 23, 1846

Unbuilt 1846 Proposed Design for Smithsonian Castle

What a fascinating old drawing from 1846. This is the proposed design for the Smithsonian Castle, Source: Smithsonian Archives
Columbia Heights

Columbia Heights Building Boom Could Have Started in 1996

It’s not possible for one to argue that Columbia Heights has been catapulted to the epicenter of gentrification and real estate renaissance over the last decade. It’s certainly brought back economic life to a part of...
Circa 1924, "Metropolitan Methodist Church, C Street, Washington, D.C." And the Ford building next door. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size. The church, at C Street NW and John Marshall Place, was abandoned and razed after the congregation moved to its Nebraska Avenue location in the 1930s. The 1905 Ford Motor Co. building on Pennsylvania Avenue was torn down in 1980.

Magnificent Lost Methodist Church on C Street

What a beautiful old church, which was sadly destroyed in the name of progress. Ugh. Source: Shorpy
(right) The Munsey Building, built in 1905 and demolished in 1980; (left) the Washington Post Building (also demolished)

Remember the Munsey Building at 13th and Pennsylvania?

It’s a sad fact that much of D.C. was demolished from the 1950s through the 1980s. It’s a damn shame, but everything was in the name of progress. Source: Flickr user Smithsonian Source: Streets of Washington Our...
Get Ghosts of DC by emailYou don't want to miss our best stuff in your inbox!

We'll send you our newest content as soon as it publishes. And, we'll throw in some of the best old content from the last eight years. We have nearly 3,000 posts, so you'll have plenty to read.