1850s

Smithsonian Castle in 1856

What a lovely old photo of the Smithsonian Castle in 1856. Click on it for incredible details.

View of Georgetown D.C. / lith. and printed in colors by E. Sachse & Co.

View of Georgetown in 1855

This lovely painting shows Georgetown in the distance as it looked in 1855. Source: Library of Congress

Old State Department Building in 1857

Oldest Photo of State Department

This is the oldest known photo of the U.S. Department of State. The photo is from 1857 and shows the old State Department building, before it was located in Foggy Bottom, and even before it was located in the State,...

Beautiful 1857 White House and Conservatory Photo

Whoa. This one is amazing. James Buchanan was the president when this photo was taken — unless it was early that year, then it was Franklin Pierce. Source: Library of Congress The conservatory was eventually demolished to be replaced by...

White House stables in 1857

Rare Photo of White House Stables

Have you ever seen a photo of the White House stables? We haven’t actually come across one until we found this at the Library of Congress. How cool is this? The photo was taken by Lewis Emory Walker in 1857...

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1861, by D. McClelland, Blanchard & Mohun, Hugh B. Sweeny, and Thos. Blagden, in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia.

Incredible 1850s Map of Washington

Now this has to be one of the best maps we’ve come across recently. It shows Washington in the 1850s, marking all the buildings, roads, and rural property owners. It’s really fascinating to see all the large plots of land...

1857 Inauguration

First Known Photo of Presidential Inauguration (1857)

This is an extremely rare photograph of James Buchanan‘s Inauguration at the East Front of the Capitol Building on March 4th, 1857. It’s a little blurry and not the highest resolution, but amazing nevertheless. The exposure took four seconds, which...