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.

Thomas Circle in 1943

Photo of Thomas Circle in 1943

This is a photo of Thomas Circle in April of 1943. Don’t forget to check out this post on how the circle looked in 1920, and this one which includes a map of the circle in...
Hyattsville Hardware in 1940

Photo of Hyattsville Hardware in 1940

This is a terrific old photo of Hyattsville Hardware taken in June of 1940. The building still stands at 5123 Baltimore Ave. Source: Library of Congress Below is the same building today on Google Street View....
Washington, D.C. Corner store which is patronized by Mrs. Ella Watson, a government charwoman

Beautiful Photo of 11th St. Row Houses

GoDCers, check this out. It’s a photo taken in August of 1942 showing two buildings on 11th St. The photo was taken from Ella Watson’s home across the street. She was a government charwoman (a woman...
sign at the National Zoo

Lost Children Will Be Taken to the Lion House

Here is an amusing (though I don’t believe intentionally) sign that was posted in the National Zoo. The photo was taken in May of 1943. This reminds me of the crazy post we did a while...
Washington, D.C. Scott Circle

Photo of Scott Circle in 1943

This is a terrific old photo of Scott Circle at night in April of 1943. Check out this great post showing the circle in the 1950s, and this one which is an aerial view of Scott...
Washington, D.C. Street corner, 7th Street and Florida Avenue, N.W.

Waiting for the Streetcar at 7th and Florida in 1942

Here is a shot of a woman waiting for the streetcar just west of 7th St. on Florida Ave., NW, taken in 1942 The building across the street is still there today. Check out the Google...
Washington, D.C. Passengers, drivers, and dogs were tired by the time they reached the gas pumps on the day before stricter gasoline rationing went into effect

Poor Dog Waiting in Line For Gas Rations

I saw this photo and I had to share it. This is a photo from June 21st, 1942. We were in the early days of World War II and in the middle of rationing. This poor pup was...
1942. "Effect of gasoline shortage in Washington, D.C." Medium format nitrate negative by Albert Freeman for the Office of War Information.

Parking in D.C. for 35 Cents in 1942

Parking fees in D.C. back in 1942 were a fair bit cheaper than they are today without a doubt. Check out this photo from World War II. Can anyone locate this photo? Source: Shorpy

GoDCer Shares Film Footage of Washington in 1949

Check out this great footage out. This is from 1949, sent in by GoDCer Eric.
President Roosevelt at NIH

Rare Footage of FDR Dedicating the NIH

This is some great old footage of FDR dedicating the NIH back in 1940. Thanks to GoDCer Jeff for sending this in a while ago. It was originally posted on an NIH blog, Circulating Now, and...
600 block of G Street NW

What Did Southwest D.C. Look Like in the 1940s?

This is a cool old photo from the 1940s showing the 600 block of G St, which doesn’t appear to be there any more, torn down as part of the tragic urban revival of Southwest. And...
No scare at British Embassy. Washington, D.C., June 18. Despite the tense situation abroad and talk of the fifth columns on this side no increase has made in the police detail guarding the British Embassy here. A solitary minion of the law still guards the majestic building

Churchill Proposes Unifying French and British Empires to Fight Nazi Germany

Here’s a shot of the British Embassy before the U.S. entry into World War II. The photo was taken four days after Paris fell to the Nazis. Source: Library of Congress According to The Washington Post printed...
Two girls view the cherry blossoms at night from the Tidal Basin, undated, Scurlock Studio. Scurlock Studio Records, c. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Neg. no. 2008-4935.

Best Night Cherry Blossom Washington Monument Photo Ever

How great is this old photograph of the cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument? We dug this old photo up in the Smithsonian Archives. It was taken some time in the 1940s or 1950s. Source: Smithsonian...
D.C. cab fars in 1947

D.C. Cab Fares in 1947

How cool is this article from The Washington Post, printed on March 13th, 1947.  These are the rates for taxi cabs taken from D.C. By the way, who is taking a cab from D.C. to Charlottesville or...
Red Cross mobile canteen 1942

Red Cross Precursor to D.C. Food Trucks

This is a photo from World War II, taken in 1942. It’s a mobile canteen run by the Red Cross. Source: Library of Congress
Welcome to the Palisades sign

Why Is It Named MacArthur Boulevard?

If you’re a fan of D.C. history, you’ll know that MacArthur Blvd. used to be called Conduit Rd. You probably also know that it was named for General Douglas MacArthur, the famous World War II general....
Visibility zero unless you lend your binoculars to the navy

U.S. Navy Needs Your Binoculars for World War II

Between 1936 and 1943 the Work Projects Administration (WPA), about 2,000 posters were designed to promote the arts, community activities, and used for education. The Library of Congress has digitized 907 of these posters. The one...
Treasury target range completed. Washington, D.C., June 10. The Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., has installed a new and modern target range in the sub basement of the Treasury Building. The range has shielded lights and electrically operated targets, is sound proof and ventilated by a fan which removes gases almost instantly. Entrance to the firing booths is through two doors which act as an air lock and prevent sound and gas from going into the outer rooms. Left to right in the picture: R.P. Hallion, White House Police; J.E. Murphy, assistant chief, Secret Service; E.L. Warden, White House Police; E.D. Murray, chief bonus mate, Coast Guard; Frank J. Wilson, chief of Secret Service; J.J. Cash, White House Police; Adam T. Smith, gunners mate, 1st. class, Coast Guard; and Elmer Irey, coordinator, Treasury Enforcement Services, 6-10-40

Shooting Range in the Treasury Department Basement

Does anyone know if this still exists? The photo below was taken in June of 1940.
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