Lost History

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

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
proposed National Mall in early 1900s

What Was the Proposed National Mall in the Early 1900s?

Check out the drawing of a proposed National Mall, as viewed from the Capitol Building. This was in the early 1900s. Source: Library of Congress
Ebbitt House in 1903

What Did 14th and F Look Like in 1903?

Now this is an incredible photograph of 14th and F Street in 1903. The big, ornate building is the old Ebbitt House. You're looking...
McLean Gardens

Proposed Demolition of McLean Gardens; Replaced by Embassy Complex

How about this interesting old article from The Washington Post, printed on August 6th, 1975. Initially, there was a plan to demolish the entire 700+ unit...
N. Moore & 19th - Source: rosslynva.org

Dangers of Dead Man’s Hollow Near Rosslyn

Rosslyn and Arlington weren't always great places to be, especially in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many parts were quite...
proposed underground streetcar system - 1912

Original Subway Planned for Downtown D.C. in 1912

Washington DC almost has a subway started in 1912, well before WMATA and Metro opened in 1976. Learn about what almost was built in the District.
Washington neighborhoods in the 1800s

Squalid Sections: Buzzard’s Roost, Ryder’s Castle, Zig-Zag Alley, and Swinghammer Alley

Buzzard's Roost, Ryder's Castle, Zig-Zag Alley, and the Barracks are all old neighborhoods which were shanties of dirt and filth. We wrote about the...
proposed tunnel system in Washington

Never Built Tunnels Under 1960s D.C.

The car culture of America was in full force through the 1950s and 1960s. Sadly, many beautiful cities and neighborhoods were ruined as a...
Hay-Adams house

Rare Photo of Hay-Adams House in 1888

This is a photo taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston of the original Hay-Adams house. Source: Library of Congress
1907 view of K St. bridge

Photo of Old 1907 Steel Girder K Street Bridge Over Rock...

Check this out. A much more bucolic and rural looking K St. over Rock Creek in 1907. Source: Library of Congress

Proposed 1873 Design for Library of Congress

This is what the Library of Congress could have looked like if Leon Beaver's design from 1873 was selected. Here's a second rendering of the...