1980s

What was Washington, D.C. like in the 1980s? Take a look at our great posts with stories, people, photos, and history about the District from the eighties.

Governor Clinton Delivers 1980 Georgetown Commencement

Here’s a rare one. You’re looking at then-governor Clinton of Arkansas, and Georgetown graduate, delivering the commencement speech at Georgetown for the graduating class of 1980. Any of you readers graduate with that class?
Traffic on I-66

What Is Nestoring?

Autumn 1984, Washington DC – It was the best of times, it was the worst of traffic. In September of 1984, The Washington Post published a story about a horrendous Beltway accident. Though numerous letters were...

Where Can You Have an Embassy in Washington, D.C.?

You can't build an embassy anywhere in D.C. Check out this map from 1987 showing where it's okay to have your diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.
Aerial view of the Willard Hotel during restoration, Washington, D.C.

Photo of Willard Hotel Undergoing Major Renovation

This is an aerial image of the Willard Hotel undergoing major renovations in the 1980s. Source: Library of Congress
Erol's video

Erol’s Video Sold to Blockbuster for $40 Million

Remember Erol’s? They were the awesome local video chain where we rented Goonies, Ghostbusters (the original), or the Gremlins. It was a sad day when the local powerhouse came to an end with the Blockbuster acquisition. This...
NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade

NSA Allows Homosexual to Stay

When this headline hit the papers in 1980, it was a big deal. A really big deal. Being gay was something that would disqualify you from holding a security clearance. Below are excerpts from the article...
Aerial view of the Washington Navy Yard, looking east (top). This shot shows the Navy Yard’s borders: M Street on the north (left); the waterfront on the south; 11th street on the east, and 2nd street on the west (foreground). On the right bank of the river is Anacostia, September 1963. NHHC Photograph Collection, Navy Subject Files, Washington Navy Yard. (214).

Aerial Views of the Navy Yard in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s

This photo is an aerial view of the Navy Yard just a couple of months before President Kennedy was assassinated. Source: National Museum of the U.S. Navy Here’s another one from the 1970s. Source: National Museum...

“The President’s Walk” Was Almost Reagan’s Last

This is a guest post by Angela Harrison Eng The Washington Hilton Hotel is located at 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, near DuPont Circle. At a glance, the hotel is one of many in a sea of...
Aerial view of Alexandria, Virgina taken in the 1980s.

1980s Aerial Photo of Alexandria

Click on the image below to see the larger version and see if you recognize parts of Alexandria from the 1980s. Source: Library of Congress
view near Gravelly Point

Aerial View Near Gravelly Point and National Airport

Check out this unique aerial view of the waterfowl sanctuary near Gravelly Point. Source: Library of Congress
Washington Monument

The Washington Monument as Seen From The Treasury Department

Here’s an incredible view of the Washington Monument some time in the early 1980s. Source: Library of Congress
(right) The Munsey Building, built in 1905 and demolished in 1980; (left) the Washington Post Building (also demolished)

Remember the Munsey Building at 13th and Pennsylvania?

It’s a sad fact that much of D.C. was demolished from the 1950s through the 1980s. It’s a damn shame, but everything was in the name of progress. Source: Flickr user Smithsonian Source: Streets of Washington Our...

Soviet Diplomat Testifies on the Hill

So here is a headline you certainly won’t see every day, and you certainly wouldn’t see something like this in the 1980s. In the Cold War edition of Ghosts of DC, here’s a cool article that...
Mayor Marion Barry and his wife Effi

Mayor Barry Proposes Renaming Part of Mass. Ave. After Mandela

This is an interesting story from the 1980s. Mayor for life, and general embarrassment to the city of Washington, Marion Barry, proposed in 1985 to rename a portion of Massachusetts Ave. in front of the South...
Nanny O'Briens

If Walls Could Talk: Nanny O’Briens

Congratulations to our latest “If Walls Could Talk” poll winner, Nanny O’Briens. We’re going to do a little digging into the history of your building at 3319 Connecticut Ave. NW. The Greek restaurant investor On September...
President Reagan signing National Minimum Drinking Age Act into law

History of the Drinking Age in Washington, D.C.

When did DC raise the drinking age to 21? The story goes back to 1984 with Ronald Reagan, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, and highways.
USSS badge

Secret Service Agent Robs Maryland Bank

Now this is not something you’ll read everyday … or ever really. Except in 1981. We came across this article in The Baltimore Sun from September 23rd of that year. A 29-year-old White House guard has been...

Map of Metro Done in Braille

This is a map of Metro done with braille. I’m not sure what the date it on this, but since the Red Line stops at Silver Spring (why is it named Silver Spring?), it’s some time...
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