The Best Of

These are the best posts from Ghosts of DC, the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C.

Amazing 360-Degree View of City From Capitol Dome in 1863

Wow, these are awesome. Click on them for greater detail because they are pretty amazing. Sorry I just wasted at least 30 minutes of...
Chain Bridge at the end of the Civil War (Library of Congress)

Why Is It Called Chain Bridge?

In 1872, Congress appropriated $100,000 for a bridge made of iron. Construction lasted until 1874, when it was rechristened "Chain Bridge" without chains.
1791 L'Enfant Plan of the new city

Why Is There No J Street?

In the English alphabet, the letter J looked too much like the letter I. The alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and there is no letter J in Latin.
D.C. slums in 1935

Three Tales From Hell’s Bottom

Our neighborhoods don't have quite the colorful names of yesteryear. Much like Murder Bay, Hell's Bottom was a seriously dangerous place to...

Three Stories About the Mormon Temple

The Washington Mormon Temple in Kensington is full of mystery and intrigue, like the "Surrender Dorothy" graffiti. Read three unusual stories about its past.
Key Bridge under construction

Key Bridge Under Construction

Key Bridge was being built between Georgetown and Rosslyn. Construction started in 1917 and completed in 1923. Below is a shot from Georgetown looking towards...
Frank Morris - Alcatraz Inmate # 1441 (

Who Was Frank Morris? He Escaped Alcatraz.

Frank Morris was from Washington, DC; a career criminal, he had a high IQ, and was the only person to escape from Alcatraz.
City of Washington, statistical maps / compiled by Lieut. F.V. Greene, assistant to the Engineer Commissioner, July 1st 1880 ; compiled by Lieut. F.V. Greene, U.S. Eng'rs ... to accompany the annual report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia for the year ending June 30th 1880 ; Wm. T.O. Bruff, del., Eng'r Dept., D.C.

City of Washington Property Values Map From 1880

Interesting ... it appears that property in Shaw and Mt. Vernon square is worth three to four times more that in Dupont Circle. This...
February 27, 1923. "Miss Alice Reighly, 1409 Harvard Street, president of Anti-Flirt Club, which has just been organized in Washington, D.C., and will launch an 'Anti-Flirt Week' beginning March 4. The club is composed of young women and girls who have been embarrassed by men in automobiles and on street corners." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. (Shorpy)

Anti-Flirt Club: Don’t Undress Me With Your Eyes

Looking at this photo, I had to do a little digging on the Anti-Flirt Club. This is amazing. Well, it turns out that there is...
great white shark breaching

Shark Attacks in the Potomac in 1911?

This is not a joke. A long time ago, there was a perceived oncoming epidemic of invading sharks, hell-bent on destroying humans and their...
1916 Slaves reunion. Lewis Martin, age 100; Martha Elizabeth Banks, age 104; Amy Ware, age 103; Rev. Simon P. Drew, born free." Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, 921 N Street N.W. (Shorpy)

1916 Convention of Ex-Slaves in D.C.

What an unbelievably powerful photo that speaks for itself. Click on it for a more detailed version. Below is an article published by the Washington...

Metro Trains Were Almost Bright Red!

Washington Metro cars were almost bright red. Early mockups had the trains looking tomato red.
Willie McCover 1974 Topps Washington "Nat'l Lea"

San Diego Padres Move to Washington for 1974 Season

Wait, what did you say? The Washington Padres? Yes, that's right. This deal was pretty much signed, sealed and...

Babe Ruth Runs Into Wall; Knocked Unconscious

Babe Ruth lying unconscious at Griffith Stadium - July 5th, 1924 (Library of Congress) To continue our baseball...
Murder Bay in 1855 (Smithsonian)

Murder Bay, the Rough-and-Tumble Lost Neighborhood

If you’re the kind of person that thinks walking home from Wonderland is sketchy, needs bars on your windows in Eckington or believes Petworth is a “fringe” neighborhood, you wouldn’t stand a chance in Murder Bay.
Nazi saboteur trial, Washington, D.C. The special seven-man military commission opens the third day of its proceedings in the trial of eight Nazi saboteurs in the fifth floor courtroom of the Department of Justice building. Sitting on the commission left to right are: Brigadier General John T. Lewis; Major General Lorenzo D. Casser; Major General Walter S. Grant; Major General Frank R. McCoy, president of the commission; Major General Blanton Winship; Brigadier General Guy V. Henry; Brigadier General John T. Kennedy. (Wikipedia)

Six Nazi Saboteurs Executed in Washington

Most of you probably are not aware that Nazi saboteurs landed on our shores early during World War II. On June 12th, 1942, a...
Susan Ford gettin' down in the East Room with her date

Senior Prom at the White House

This is a serious case of right place, right time. The Class of '75 at Holton-Arms had a notable classmate in Susan Ford, the...
Abraham Lincoln colorized (1865)

Abraham Lincoln in Color (1865)

This is a very famous photo of President Lincoln from February 5th, 1865. The President would be assassinated a short two months later at...

Video Visualizing Early Washington, D.C.

If you're a serious D.C. history nerd, you'll find this just as fascinating as I do. It was produced by UMBC's Imaging Research Center...
Au Pied de Cochon

If Walls Could Talk: Au Pied De Cochon and 1335 Wisconsin...

Remember Au Pied de Cochon on Wisconsin Avenue? How about the story of the Soviet spy Vitaky Yurchenko?

Robert Todd Lincoln at His Father’s Memorial Dedication

File this one away in the historic candids section. On May 30th, 1922 and at the advanced age of 78, Robert Todd...