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Potomac River

Potomac River in 1898

Beautiful 1898 Photo of the Potomac River

This is quite a beautiful photo of the Potomac River from 1898. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to locate this photo, but if you have any thoughts, add them below in the comments. Source: Library of...
Potomac River

Tragic Potomac Drowning Ends Romance

This is a sad story that we came across in The Washington Postfrom June 29th, 1908. John McCalip, 22 years old, an electrician, at the Senate office building, was drowned yesterday while swimming in Broad Creek, on...

Record Low Temperatures 130 Years Ago

You think it’s cold today? Well, it is … but 130 years ago, there were some record freezing temperatures causing problems all over the city. We went through the papers to dig up some old stories...
don't swim in the Potomac

Potomac Water is a Health Hazard (1973)

Remember how nasty the Potomac River was? Yes, it’s still not the greatest, but it’s swimmable in some parts (as long as you don’t have open wounds). Back in the 1970s, it was absolutely polluted. Check...
boat club

Boat Club by Aqueduct Bridge

Here’s a great shot that we found on Flickr. It’s the boat club just above Aqueduct Bridge (or where Key Bridge is today). Source: D.C. Public Library
Union soldiers guarding the Potomac River in Washington, DC in 1861. Georgetown University is visible in the background. Photo by George Barnard

Union Soldiers on the Banks of the Potomac

What an incredible photo. We dug this one up thanks to Reddit.
early map of Washington

Early Map of Washington and the Patawmack

That’s right, the Patawmack River, not the Potomac. Check out this cool map of what would become the City of Washington. It was done around 1893, near the city’s centennial. Source: Library of Congress
Entrance to Washington Water Works, Great Falls, Potomac River - Photograph shows two men standing in a small flat boat near the spillway.

Entrance to the Washington Water Works

What an amazing photograph from the 1860s. This shows the entrance to the Washington Water Works near Great Falls. Source: Library of Congress
Potomac Boat Club in 1921

Potomac Boat Club and the Key Bridge Under Construction

Here is a cool old photo of the Potomac Boat Club in 1921, standing in front of, what will soon become, the Key Bridge. Looks like the guy on the right is in dire need of...
View of the suburbs of the city of Washington

1790s Views of Washington

These are some great prints of Washington as it looked in the mid-1790s. They were done by George Isham Parkyns and they show a slightly different and more pastoral landscape. Here is the print of the Potomac...
waiter at Herzog's

Lost History: Herzog’s Famous Sea Food Restaurant

This is another shameful loss for Washington. The waterfront in SW used to be teeming with activity. (The fish market is really cool if you haven’t been.) The District is trying to reinvest and bring it...
Chain Bridge at the end of the Civil War (Library of Congress)

Why Is It Called Chain Bridge?

In 1872, Congress appropriated $100,000 for a bridge made of iron. Construction lasted until 1874, when it was rechristened "Chain Bridge" without chains.
View of Washington and the Potomac from Georgetown in 1865

View of Washington from Georgetown Heights in 1865

It’s often hard to believe how rural much of Washington appeared in the 19th century. This is one of those photographs that you marvel at for a while. The image shows a view of Washington, down...
Arlington Bathing Beach in 1923

Arlington’s Beach on the Potomac

Hard to believe it, but back in the 1920s, Arlington had a beach. Here’s a shot of the amusement park on the Potomac River (near where the Pentagon is today) around 1925. And here is another...
Beauty Contest Winner Washington Post headline

Beauty Contest Winner Saves Man from Drowning

A beauty queen hero emerged on the banks of the Potomac, one summer day in 1924. Below is an article from the Washington Post, published on June 2nd, 1924. Miss Leoma Davis, winner of several Washington...
1937 Chevy taxi

Revenge Against Cabbie: Taxi Stolen, Pushed Into Potomac

This is a guest post by Aaron. He also wrote a really popular post on red metro trains. It must have made a splash. But nobody saw anything. An overturned taxi lay atop the rocky shore of the...
Watergate steps (source: SmugMug user George Calhoun)

Do You Know the Other Watergate?

Before “Watergate” became synonymous with a group of buildings and a scandal, it was the name applied to something else. And it’s something that most of us are very familiar with, especially if you’re an avid...
great white shark breaching

Shark Attacks in the Potomac in 1911?

This is not a joke. A long time ago, there was a perceived oncoming epidemic of invading sharks, hell-bent on destroying humans and their boats. I found this article in the Washington Post from July 26th,...