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1850s

The President's Manion in 1850

1850 Stereoscopic Photo of the President’s Mansion

What a great photo. We found another terrific source of images, though, unfortunately they’re not high resolution. Source: New York Public Library
Historic Train station in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Why Is It Named Gaithersburg?

For this edition of “Why Is It Named…?” we will head out to the Maryland suburbs of Gaithersburg. Do you know the town’s origin? We certainly didn’t, until a little sleuthing (and Wikipedia-ing) uncovered the story. The town currently known...
View from the 2nd story of the residence of Mrs. Comre. John Rodgers, Franklin Row, K Street at 12 & 13 Sts, Washington, D.C., overlooking the backyard and adjacent neighborhood, and showing children standing on balconies

What K Street Looked Like in 1850

The watercolor below was painted by Montgomery Meigs in 1850. It depicts a slightly more bucolic and peaceful life on K St. Take a look at a map of the area from 1888. This is the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map...
Drawing shows stables in the foreground and view of the city of Washington from southeast with the United States Capitol on the right, the White House in center background, and the Smithsonian castle and Washington Monument on the left.

View of Washington in the 1840s

Here is a painting of Washington from the late 1840s or 1850s, done by Augustus Köllner. The view is from an angle south of the Capitol, looking northwest. We just came across this watercolor while digging through the Library of Congress archives.
1851 map of Washington, D.C. in canvas

Hang This Map on Your Wall

GoDCer, and über cartophile, Matt has sent along something that we’re compelled to share with you … because GoDCers love maps! We posted an awesome 1851 map of D.C. a while ago, and it was one of our most popular posts...
Bloomingdale row houses (source: gullivers-nest.blogspot.com)

Why Is It Named Bloomingdale?

It has been a really long time since we did a “Why is it Named…?” post, and since at least a quarter of GoDCers live in Bloomingdale (I totally made that number up), we are going to focus a quick history...
Willard's Hotel

Philemon Herbert: Crooked Congressman, Card Shark and Brothel Patron

This is the first guest post by Roger. Check out his blog Forgotten Stories for some excellent lost history. Philemon T. Herbert was a crooked lawyer, a card shark, frequented brothels, and stood accused of attacking a political rival with a...
Isometrical view of the Presidents House, the surrounding public buildings, and private residences - 1984 (LIbrary of Congress)

Isometrical View of the White House

This is a cool drawing that we found in the Library of Congress’ archives. It’s centered on the White House, showing the surrounding area around the 1850s (done in 1984). The bottom left side would be the Ellipse today and...
Map of the city of Washington D.C. : established as the permanent seat of the government of the U.S. of Am. / James Keily, surveyor. - 1851 (Library of Congress)

1851 Map of the City of Washington, D.C.

What an amazing old map of Washington, D.C. in 1851. I found this gem on the Library of Congress’ website. Click on it for a much larger version. Dig this map? Want to see more? Sign up for our updates...
Leaflet calling for funds to help complete the Washington Monument by John Carroll Brent in 1854 (Library of Congress)

Contribute to the Washington National Monument Society

By 1854 the Washington Monument was about a third complete when the Washington National Monument Society ran out of funds and had to halt construction. John Carroll Brent called upon Americans to support the effort with a donation of funds...