Lost History

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

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 straight at it, with F St. heading to the left and 14th...
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 complex and replace it with a large park and compound for...
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 bleak, and worse, extremely dangerous. There once was a place called Dead Man’s Hollow,...
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 rough-and-tumble lost neighborhood of Murder Bay, and the equally squalid Hell’s Bottom...
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 result of this push to get rid of streetcars, build up highway...
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 Creek

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 building with some perspective. Check out a few more of his...
Proposed design for the Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Could Have Looked Like This

Check out this great find. It’s a rendering of a proposed design for the Kennedy Center, then called the National Cultural Center. It’s actually not terribly different, just with far more curved lines than the boxy...
Brown's Indian Queen Hotel

Brown’s Indian Queen Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue

Below is a painting of Brown’s Indian Queen Hotel situated on Pennsylvania Avenue. Source: Library of Congress The hotel was located on the northwest corner of 6th and Pennsylvania and was originally run by manager Jesse...
Gordon Hotel

Beautiful Lost Gordon Hotel at 16th and I Streets

Source: Library of Congress Chances are that most of you aren’t familiar with the old Gordon Hotel (or just The Gordon). It has been long gone from the landscape of 16th St. NW, but once struck...
Exterior of Old National Hotel II

Lost National Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue

In keeping with the hotel theme this week, we wanted to share a little bit about the National Hotel, formerly situated at 6th and Pennsylvania Ave., across from where the Indian Queen was. The location is...
Rome Coliseum around 1900

Washington Was Originally Called Rome?

Well, one of the estates which made up the original city of Washington was called Rome. Have you heard about Rome, Washington? Probably not, so read on. D.C. has an interested historical connection to the city...
door frame within mill

Visit the Ruins of Seneca Quarry (Yes, Real Ruins!)

If you’ve read GoDCer Garrett Peck’s book, then you’re familiar with Seneca Quarry and the important role it played in the building growth of our area. I knew it was a pretty cool spot to visit, but...
Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Constitution Avenue Almost Renamed Franklin or L’Enfant Avenue

We wrote a while ago about the history behind Constitution Avenue. Doing a little more digging, we have come up with a great addendum to that post, with a little more backstory on the second-place names....
Print shows view from street of Blodget's Hotel with stagecoach parked in front and a person walking on the sidewalk on the left, later (from 1802 to 1836) the U.S. Patent Office.

Blodgett’s Hotel: Lost “Hotel” in Today’s Penn Quarter

Source: Library of Congress Above is an image of Blodgett’s Hotel. One might infer that a building named Blodgett’s Hotel would in fact be a hotel, but that would be an incorrect assumption. The building was...
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