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Smithsonian Institution

1879 Smithsonian Construction

This great old photo shows the Arts and Industries Building on the Mall under construction in 1879. And below we found an interesting 1878 rendering of what the building should look like. And finally,...

Smithsonian Castle in 1856

What a lovely old photo of the Smithsonian Castle in 1856. Click on it for incredible details.
Proposed design for Smithsonian Institution Building by John Notman, north front elevation. It is a Gothic design with three stories, a central tower/cupola, crenellated embattlements, and symmetrical wings. The design was submitted for the competition sponsored by the Building Committee of the Board of Regents, December 23, 1846

Unbuilt 1846 Proposed Design for Smithsonian Castle

What a fascinating old drawing from 1846. This is the proposed design for the Smithsonian Castle, Source: Smithsonian Archives
View of the Smithsonian Institution Building looking east up B Street (Independence Ave) towards the U.S. Capitol. Grounds are landscaped following a plan laid out by Andrew Jackson Downing, with the Castle nestled among trees. Visible amidst the trees is the Magnetic Observatory, built in 1853. People stand along the fence installed along the sidewalk on B Street In this image, the central roof of the Castle is intact and the small towers have the caps on them. In January of 1865, a fire destroyed the central roof and the caps on the towers, so this photograph had to have been taken prior to January 1865 and is most likely April 1863. The Capitol dome, seen in the distance, is not yet completed

Look at the Smithsonian and Capitol in 1865

What an awesome photo from the Civil War era. You’re looking up what is Independence Ave. today. Source: Smithsonian Archives
view of Mall from Smithsonian

Beautiful Western View of Washington Monument From Smithsonian

What a beautiful view of the Mall from the Smithsonian. This was taken in the early 20th century. Source: Library of Congress
Third in a series of four panoramic photographs of Washington, D.C., from left to right (west to east) taken from a tower in the Smithsonian Institution Building. The Mall area is covered with trees. The streets on the left perpendicular to the Mall are 12th Street and 11th Street. The long building on the right is Center Market bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Avenue, 7th and 9th Streets, N.W. Up and behind Center Market on the right, the large building is the Pension Bureau Building bounded by F and G Streets, N.W., between 4th and 5th Streets, designed by General Montgomery C. Meigs, completed in 1887, later occupied by many government agencies and now known as the National Building Museum

1886 Panorama of D.C. from Smithsonian Castle

What an incredible 360-degree panorama of Washington from 1886. This image was taken from the top of the Smithsonian Castle. Don't miss it!

Really Old Pre-Civil War Photo of Washington

Now this is a really super old photo of Washington from around 1857. Click on it for a much larger version to study it. I believe this is a view looking southeast, and the...
Aerial View of the Smithsonian

Painting of Aerial View of Smithsonian (1936)

This is a beautiful painting done by Jex Garnet Garnet Jex in 1936. Source: Smithsonian
Looking south from the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 11th Street, the silhouette of the Smithsonian Institution Building is seen in the distance. The photograph, taken by William Henry Holmes and signed "W.H.H. Phot.," shows horse-drawn carriages along the avenue of storefronts. Above the first building to the right of 11th Street, the sign reads "Latimer & Cleary Auction and Commission Merchants", the next building has a sign "Star Buildings," and the third building "Metropolitan."

Smithsonian Institution Building from Pennsylvania Avenue in 1874

We are loving the Smithsonian Archives! This is a great one from 1874.