Lost History

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

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...
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