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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Washington Monuments: 1922

Washington Monuments: 1922

May 5, 1922. Washington, D.C. "Vista of Monument from Lincoln Memorial." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Summer of '83

In 1983 I sat at the top of those steps by the columns on the right with a young Italian girl spending her summer vacation with her uncle's family in Maryland and she had never seen Washington D.C. It was a glorious summer afternoon and our hearts were each other's.

Into the Mist

On a warm October evening in 1992, I sat with a girl on the top steps right in front of the columns on the left, and looked down the long vista of the Mall, with the Reflecting Pool in the foreground, the Washington Monument glowing behind it, the beautifully lit dome of the Capitol in the far distance, and a big, full moon hanging overhead. She was from California and had never seen any of this before. After a few moments of quiet, she said simply, "Thank you for showing me this." And my heart was hers.

I'd relive that moment in a heartbeat.

Main Navy

The buildings along the left (north) side of the Mall are the "Main Navy and Munitions" buildings. Built as temporary quarters for the Department of the Navy and the Department of War in 1917, they were torn down in 1970.

The Old Post Office tower is behind them.

Speaking of the Reflecting Pool

Isn't that where -- oh my God! -- they killed Kenny?

Timeless, Indeed

If there's ever a listing of the top 100 photos ever taken this must be on that list. Thank you.

Brand new and timeless

This photo was taken shortly before the dedication of the Memorial on May 30, 1922. Robert Lincoln (79) was there.

The Reflecting Pool is not yet in place, though it was part of the original design and was finished the next year. Ironically, if you go to the Memorial today, you'll find bare dirt again while the pool is being renovated.

The buildings glimpsed to the left along Constitution Avenue. are no longer there; from the same vantage point today you would see part the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Still, if there's a timeless vista anywhere in the United States, this is it.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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