Faces & Places of Yesterday / 28.03.2012

I was researching a couple of stories and I came across an article that was so sad that I had to share it with you. It's from the Washington Times on October 19th, 1918. The world was in the middle of the greatest pandemic in the history of the planet. Between 50 and 100 million people fell victim to the deadly virus. The citizens of Washington shared in this epic tragedy and the innocent victims were often children. If they didn't catch the flu themselves, certainly someone in their family would. Sadly, a common case was the parents getting the flu and dying, leaving the child without one or both parents.
They Were Neighbors / 06.03.2012

Every time I see an old photo like this on Shorpy, I want to know more about the person staring back at me. Where did they live? What was their occupation? Who were their family members? Who were their neighbors? I started this blog eight weeks ago (wow, feels a lot longer than that) with the intention of focusing on stories of regular Washingtonians. We've had the chance to meet some interesting characters like Minnie Wiseman the sad suicide girl, Don Glendening the tragic murder victim, Robert Muir the manager of the Cairo, Leopold Birkle the German brewer and of course, Washington's first true badass, Officer Sprinkle. This recent photo I came across has inspired me to start a new series called "They Were Neighbors." We're going to continue down the path of meeting former residents of our city, but instead of just focusing on one person, I'd really like to explore the dynamics or the person's day-to-day life. The woman below, Ann O'Connell, interacted with people on a daily basis, and we can piece these relationships together by digging through old newspapers and the U.S. Census. This will be a little bit investigative research with a side of imagination. One more thing before we dive in. Don't be shy to comment below and add your own interpretation. This is more art and opinion than true science. I'd like to think of this as participatory blogging, so if you have good ideas, or think I'm totally wrong, go ahead.
A Personal Story / 29.02.2012

There were a couple of requests a short while back to do a post on The Cairo, the most famous residential building in the city. You can Google it or check it out on Wikipedia, so no need to do the building's history. I want to dig up the more anonymous stories of people associated with the building. So, here's one that I came across about a guy named Robert Muir. He was the Cairo Hotel's manager back in the 1910s, about a little over 15 years into its existence.
If Walls Could Talk / 23.02.2012

I'm a little tardy with delivering this next "If Walls Could Talk" ... sorry. The winner of our second IWCT poll is the H Street hot spot, Smith Commons (I don't think I like that acronym). I came across some interesting stories related to the spot at 1245 H St. NE, not to mention my favorite D.C. police officer. The next time you hit up happy hour at Smith Commons, you'll have plenty to talk about with you friendly bartender.