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.

Dutch Leonard circa 1945

A Cautionary Tale: the 1945 Senators

This is a guest post by GoDCer Marty from Chevy Chase, MD. Much like the rest of us, he is nervously excited and cautiously optimistic about our team. When you read this post, you’ll know why....
3473 Holmead Pl. NW (home on the right)

Ex-White House Policeman Murders Wife

Okay, here is a headline that caught my attention: “Ex-White House Policeman Indicted as Slayer of Wife.” This is an article from August 3rd, 1943. Random fact: the day before, PT-109, commanded by JFK, was rammed...
Josh Gibson, Homestead Grays

Don’t Forget Josh Gibson

We have posted a couple times about the legendary slugger Josh Gibson. He is both a fascinating subject to learn about and a terribly tragic figure. We came across this short biographical clip that we thought...

Washington Redskins: 1942 NFL Champions

Sunday is our first game and the beginning of RGIII in D.C. Let’s bring back some pride to the Washington Redskins. And we’d like to give a quick shout out to GoDCer, and giant Redskins, fan...
Washington National Cathedral at twilight

Three Things That Happened at Washington National Cathedral

Exactly one year ago today, one of the most spectacular buildings in Washington was badly damaged by the earthquake that shook our city. So much so, that the repairs are going to cost millions of dollars...
Josh Gibson scores a run in the 1944 Negro League East-West All-Star Game at Comiskey Park

Negro League Star Held in Hospital for Mental Observation

The title of this article caught my eye: “Josh Gibson Held in D.C. for Mental Observation.” If you’re a baseball fan, you know that Josh Gibson was probably one of the greatest and most feared hitters...
Spring Valley Baist real estate map in 1913

From a GoDCer: Miller-Built Homes in Spring Valley

I received the following email the other day from a GoDCers up near AU Park and Spring Valley. Hello, I love your website. Thank you for researching DC history! I grew up in AU Park —...
U.S.S. U.S.A.T. in drydock for repairs - 1916 (Wikipedia)

More on Marjorie Morris, the “Whoopee Party” Girl

I was trying to dig up a photo, or at least some more information on what happened to Marjorie. I was able to find two documents related to her on Ancestry.com. The first one I found...
streetcar entering Dupont Underground near end of construction in 1949 (theatlanticcities.com)

Dupont Circle Closed For One Year on Monday (1948)

I took a tour of the Dupont Underground yesterday, and I have to say, it’s amazing. It’s like to step back into 1955. If you haven’t done it, you really should. You may or may not...
Joe DiMaggio at Griffith Stadium - May 28th, 1941

First Night Game at Griffith Stadium

May 28th, 1941 was an important day in Washington baseball history. That evening, Griffith Stadium hosted its first-ever night game under the newly installed lights. The Senators were playing the powerful New York Yankees, led by...
#1101 on fan trip at 7th Street & Florida - January 27th, 1962, the last day ever (source: Joe Testagrose collection)

Awesome Old Streetcar Photos … A Lot of Them

I stumbled across a great resource for streetcar photos. Check out the slide show below of some photos I pulled. The map below is the transit map for Washington in 1948. Click on it for a...
The Westchester (Flickr user Anomalous_A)

Three Things About The Westchester at 4000 Cathedral Ave. NW

We’re on a roll with these “Three Things…” posts, so why not crank out another one. This time, we’re going to focus on The Westchester at 4000 Cathedral Ave. NW. Christy, The Westchester’s resident ambassador for...
B-29 Superfortress in flight (Wikipedia)

Three Things You Didn’t Know About National Airport

The popular “Three Things…” post about Dulles Airport prompted me to give equal treatment to our other local, older and much more convenient airport: National Airport (not Reagan National Airport, thank you very much). Actually, the...
Walter Spangenberg, captain in the Woodrow Wilson High School Cadet Corps at the school's Regimental Ball during WWII - October 1943 (Shorpy)

Walter Spangenberg of Woodrow Wilson High School Cadet Corps

This is a far more charming photo of Washington in 1943 than the mock execution being held on the grounds of Woodrow Wilson High School. More than likely, Spangenberg was in the background of that photo,...
a wild dog (source: the Internet)

Kingman Island Squatter Eaten by Wild Dog

Yowza! This is a crazy story that lives up to the title, albeit a brief story. I came across this in the Washington Post on October 25th, 1941. A few gnawed bones and a wild dog...
1940 U.S. Census

1940 Census: D.C. Was Bigger Than Today, Housed A “Hobo Jungle Camp”

This is a guest post by Aaron. Newspapers called it a “New Deal Boom.”  The Great Depression was coming to an end.  The District’s peacetime population exploded as government grew and workers – men and women...
Pearl Harbor 1941

The Morning of Pearl Harbor

In Washington, late into the evening of December 6th, reporters worked their normal, likely frantic, hours and submitted their articles in time to be published the following morning. War had been raging in Europe now for...
Shaw's Tavern

If Walls Could Talk: Shaw’s Tavern

Congratulations to the latest “If Walls Could Talk” poll winner: Shaw’s Tavern. Also, congratulations on landing that liquor license. It’s been a long road, but the neighborhood and city is thrilled to have this latest addition...
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