1870s

Amazing 1870s Railroad Photos of Washington

These 1870s photos are incredible, showing the District just following the Civil War. Click on them for more details.

1879 Smithsonian Construction

This great old photo shows the Arts and Industries Building on the Mall under construction in 1879. And below we found an interesting 1878 rendering of what the building should look like. And finally, here’s a...

1877 Map of Georgetown

This is a great old map of Georgetown. Click on it for greater details. Source: Library of Congress
1876. Photographer: W.W. Core, Washington, D.C. Frederick Douglass is standing on the front lawn of his home on A Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. Other family members are standing out on the front porch on both side of the houses.

Rare Photo of Frederick Douglass in Front of His Home

This amazing find was dug up courtesy of the National Park Service. You’re look at a grainy image of Frederick Douglass standing in front of his home on Capitol Hill at 320 A St. NE. The...
1877 view of the Washington Monument under construction as seen from the Tower of the Smithsonian (now the Smithsonian Castle)

Best Photo of Unfinished Washington Monument in 1877

Many of you know that the Washington Monument sat unfinished for decades, an eye-sore of a stump on what would become the National Mall. Here is what it looked like in 1877, as seen from the...
Architectural drawing for alterations to the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. West elevation Summary

1877 Drawing of Proposed Capitol Modifications

Fascinating drawing of the U.S. Capitol from the 1870s showing proposed modifications to the building. This is the west elevation of the building, the opposite side of the National Mall. Source: Library of Congress

Why Is It Named LeDroit Park?

Well, you might not know this, but there really was a Mr. LeDroit … sort of. LeDroit Park was established as one of the first suburbs of Washington, D.C. That’s kind of hard to believe right,...
Bird's-eye view of Washington

What Did D.C. Look Like in 1872?

Here’s a cool bird’s-eye view of the Capitol and the rest of Washington from 1872. Source: Library of Congress
The Real Estate Directory of the City of Washington, D.C., Suburbs of Washington City, Serial Number 50 is a series of maps of recorded subdivisions beyond the city limits published by Faehtz & Pratt in 1874. Maps show streets, lot numbers and dimensions, property lines, and some building footprints. Landowners and estate names are included for large parcels. Outside of Georgetown, subdivision maps showing only property lines indicate that they were undeveloped at that time.

1874 Map of Suburban Mt. Pleasant

This is a great old map, about a decade earlier than this one of Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant. Click on it for a larger version to see more details. In this, Howard is Newton St....

1874 Map of Georgetown’s Old Street Names

Check out this terrific 1874 map of Georgetown with the old street names. Source: Dig DC
Plat of Curtis & Burdett's subdivision of Carlin Springs, Alexandria County, Virginia : 260 ft. above sea level

Carlin Springs Subdivision Map from 1887 and 1890

Here is a map of the Carlin Springs subdivision in Alexandria, now Arlington County. Source: Library of Congress The above map shows the area south of Arlington Blvd. and east of S. Carlin Springs Rd. Check...
Ulysses S. Grant, full-length portrait, facing left, standing alongside his war horse, "Cincinnati"

Which President Got a Speeding Ticket on a Horse?

Ulysses Grant was arrested for directing by William West, an African-American metropolitan policeman. This is a great historical story.

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...
Swampoodle Houses

Irish Thief and Family Arrested in Swampoodle for Assaulting Officers

This is a colorful story for the lost neighborhood of Swampoodle. We came across the article in The Washington Post, printed on October 20th, 1879. Morris Connors, a notorious Swampoodle thief and rough, tumbled out of a...
1873 Inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant

1873 View of Ulysses Grant’s Second Inauguration

Here’s an old print from 1873, showing Ulysses Grant’s second inauguration, looking down Pennsylvania Ave. Source: Library of Congress

Beautiful 1879 Panorama of Washington

What a cool series of old photos from 1879. We’ve published so many posts that we can’t remember if these went up before, but nevertheless, sharing them twice isn’t such a bad thing. Source: Library of...
map around the National Mall

1872 Street Paving Map of Washington

You think the roads are bad today, with all the potholes? I assure you, they were worse in the 1870s. Here’s a really cool old map that we dug up at the Library of Congress, marking...
Proposed design for the completion of the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.

Unbuilt Proposed Design for Washington Monument (1877)

Check out this cool proposed design to finish the Washington Monument. Construction didn’t restart on the unfinished monument until 1879 after Congress appropriated another $200,000 to complete it. Below is one of the proposals on the...
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