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1940s

What was Washington, D.C. like in the 1940s? Take a look at our great posts with stories, people, photos, and history about the District from the forties.

Whitehurst Freeway / Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway, Washington, District of Columbia, DC

Georgetown’s Whitehurst Freeway Opens in 1949

It sure isn’t pretty, but it’s quite effective at diverting traffic from Rosslyn, around Georgetown and onto K St. Granted, traffic is still horrific on Key Bridge, M St., and K St., but imagine...
Proposed D.C. subway system

Proposed D.C. Subway During World War II

Between 1930 and 1950, the population of Washington expanded incredibly. The crush of people needed a way to get to work, and though a proposed subway in 1912 never came to fruition, the idea...
Arlington County, Va., circa 1941. "National Airport. Plane in front of passenger terminal and control tower." Photo by Theodor Horydczak.

National Airport Way Back in 1941

This lovely old photo was taken in 1941. You're looking at the old terminal (then the only terminal) at National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.
600 block of Independence Ave. SW in 1941

Independence Avenue Before the FAA Headquarters

Take a look at the building below. This is the Federal Aviation Administration’s headquarters on Independence Ave. SW. It obviously didn’t always look like this. Now look below at what the block looked like...
Washington, D.C. Sunday along the Tidal Basin

Tidal Basin Canoeing During World War II

During the dark early days of World War II, people in the city of Washington still found time to relax on weekends. This photo was taken on a Sunday in July 1942 by John...
https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/view.htm?id=0A872177-1DD8-B71C-07B983197ECB7653

Unfinished Jefferson Memorial in 1940

This great photo shows the Jefferson Memorial back in 1940, before World War II. Source: National Park Service Here’s another cool one we dug up.
Machine gun sets up outside the Lincoln Memorial on December 8th, 1941

Machine Guns at the Lincoln Memorial

The day after Pearl Harbor this is what the Lincoln Memorial looked like. Reminds me a little of what downtown Washington looked like the day after 9/11.
Washington, D.C. Automobile store on 14th Street which has stock of frozen cars

Car Dealerships Prohibited From Selling During World War II

These photos show a cool old building on 14th St. in Logan Circle which still stands today. It used to be an automobile dealership and the photos below are from 1942 during World War...
Nourse House in 1947

Before Sidwell Friends: The Nourse House

This lovely photo is captioned as the Charles Joseph Nourse House in Tennallytown (read about the name’s history). This is the main administrative house today and it’s known as Zartman House. It’s a beautiful...