1880s

Where is the Original Dupont Circle Statue?

This is D.C.’s original statue of Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Dupont, installed in 1884. Here you see it – clearly sitting at the center of Dupont Circle. We see the namesake admiral but we don’t see...
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 is a fascinating map and we know GoDCers love maps. Click the...
Smartly dressed couple seated on an 1886-model bicycle for two. The South Portico of the White House, Washington, D.C., in the background. 77-RP-7347-4. (National Archives)

Funky 1886 Bicycle Built for Two at the White House

Here’s a good find from the National Archives. It’s a very well dressed couple riding an odd-looking bicycle (or quad-cycle), just south of the White House. Related articles Email From a GoDCer: Alexander Graham Bell’s Georgetown...
Fitch, Fox & Brown real estate advertisement for Lanier Heights - April 19th, 1884 (The National Republican)

Lanier Heights: A Fine Tract of Land on Columbia Road

This is pretty cool … if you live in Lanier Heights or Adams Morgan, you’ll also find this fascinating. This is a real estate advertisement for newly subdivided lots just north of Columbia Rd. NW. Related...
William Stickney residence in the 1870s. William leading against building (source: adolf-cluss.org)

Lost History: The Stickney House at 6th and M

Why did we knock down half of the amazing buildings in Washington? It’s tragic and depressing when you read through John’s book “Lost Washington” or James’ book “Capitol Losses.” Sadly, the home below was torn down...
guy digging grave

Jansen the Body Snatcher Strikes Again

Chalk another great find up to GoDCer and Poolesville resident, Jack. Thanks! Do you hang out with your kids in Walter Pierce park? Maybe you played kickball or soccer on the fields there, or take your...
Medical students dissect a cadaver during the Civil War (National Museum of Civil War Medicine)

Body of Executed Man Sold for Parts

Jack, a GoDCer in Poolesville, sent over a series of great story ideas, mostly focused on the ghoulish and ghastly. This is an excellent candidate for best “From the Crazy Vault” post yet. Well done Jack,...
James Madison Wyatt Stone in the Washington Post

Headless Body Stands and Lips Quiver on Convict’s Decapitated Dead After Hanging

Here’s another excellent story idea from Poolesville GoDCer Jack. If we gave awards for class participation, Jack would win. Thanks for all the tips. If any of you have story ideas, feel free to email [email protected]
Howard University from Robert N Dennis Collection

Frederick Douglass and Rutherford B. Hayes Speak at Howard University

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Forget what you’ve heard, or rather haven’t heard or yet read. Frederick Douglass was a Howard Universityman through and through. Douglass was not just a lion, he was a Bison....
1887-1888 Cuban Giants

Cuban Giants Defeat All-Washington Team; Frederick Douglass in Attendance

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Frederick Douglass was a baseball man. His son, Charles, organized and played on Washington, DC-based colored teams in postbellum Washington. The Washington Mutual and later Alerts both traveled...
The New Corcoran Gallery (Washington Times)

Three Random Facts About the Corcoran Gallery

Tragedy! I was tipped off by DCist that the Corcoran Gallery might be leaving the District for Alexandria?! Wow, that would be bad. Say it ain’t so. And who is in the market to buy a big...
Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland Gets Lost in 19th Century Anacostia

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. While trying to confirm President Hayes visited Douglass at Cedar Hill, I came across this news item telling of President Grover Cleveland (the 22nd and, later, the 24th...
John Bruebaker's death certificate (Congressional Cemetery)

Georgetown Canal Boatmen Brawl; Brutal Fight Ends in Murder

I was poking around the archives of both The Washington Post and The Washington Times to come across a gem of a story to share and the one that caught my eye involved two Georgetown boatmen engaged...
Frederick Douglass in 1881

Frederick Douglass Attends First Union Alumni Association of Howard University and Toasts “Self-Made Men”

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. Frederick Douglass was a self-made man about town during his years in Washington. He was a frequent guest of the White House through the various Presidential administrations...
Baltimore Sun - Letter From Washington

Violence on Streets of Old Anacostia (1886)

This is a guest post by John (from The Lion of Anacostia), cross-posted here. I walk the streets, alleys, back-cuts, and lounge on the corners of Anacostia everyday, every hour, every minute. Tour an abandominium or...
Independent Ice Co. advertisement in The Evening Critic - May 6th, 1885

Before Fridges, Ice From Maine Shipped to D.C.

Ice harvesting in Maine was a booming industry in the late 19th century through the first decades of the 20th century. The Independent Ice Company, headed by C. B. Church, was one of the larger distributors...

Dr. Clark Johnson’s Indian Blood Syrup: The Best Remedy Known to Man!

I’m sorry. What the hell are you selling? Indian Blood Syrup? Wow, this appears to cure everything. Dr. Clark Johnson was a complete charlatan and that doesn’t even do him justice. He was a phony and...
1880s pen knife

Cries of Murder on Pennsylvania Avenue (1884)

Here is some old craziness to (I hate to use the word) entertain you. This is from the Washington Post on December 6th, 1884. By the way, this just happens to be the same day the...
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