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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Alley: 1920

The Alley: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Smallwood, 1726 P Street." A variety of window treatments here. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Hudson - Performance, Service, Value

The car is a circa 1914 - 1917 Hudson. The triangular logo on the radiator stood for performance, service, and value. The license plate appears to be a 1920 Washington D.C. plate. In 1929 Hudson would be the 3rd largest automobile manufacturer after Ford and Chevrolet.

Beautiful bay

The house on the left that was torn down was a beautiful building. I love the stonework around the bay window on the 2nd floor.

I want my Maypole

A Shorpy mainstay, the circular telephone drop. There must have been thousands of these back in the day.

Alley Girl

Her standing there staring at the photographer gives this photo a nice touch of mystery!

The squiggly line down the side of the building, is it a scratch in the plate or maybe a firefly or a ball of St. Elmo's Fire running through the alley?

Watergate flowerpot

The apartment to the left was replaced by the Webster House, at 1718 P Street, built in 1968. Bob Woodward had a small studio apartment there during his Watergate adventures. He would put a flowerpot in the window of No. 617 as a signal to Deep Throat (Mark Felt) that he wanted to meet.

Want to be freaked out?

It would appear that the buildings did a switcheroo and traded places in the night. I was puzzled until I realized they must have razed the one brownstone and moved the alley over for the newer building to the left. Freaky still.

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Some still there, sort of

The houses to the right of the alley have undergone some changes, but parts of P street are as I remember them from Back in the Day.

Alley lives; house not so much

The alley would later expand and take over the house at 1726, but 1728 is still there and so is the tree out front, which you can see is a bit taller now

Also you cannot give up a good parking spot even 91 years later.

What's going on today?

Google Street View shows that #1726 still exists today in remarkably unchanged condition. Its neighbor to its right has been extensively modified and doesn't look all that nice anymore.

Where things get confusing is to the left of #1726. A building now stands in what was once the alleyway, and from its appearance it probably was built not long after this photo's 1920 date. So what happened to the building that stood to the left of the alleyway? It must have been demolished when the new building went up shortly after 1920, but in this photo it hardly seemed anywhere ready for demolition. Did it burn down?

Further note: the "new" building to the left of #1726 does not merely fill the old alleyway. It appears to the wider than the alleyway and therefore its construction would have required the demolition of the former #1724 decades before the construction of the Webster House in 1968.

P Street

I've always loved the houses on this section of P Street. Looks like at some point the house at 1726 was torn down and the alley was shifted to accommodate an apartment building. 1728 remains.

Looks like 1726 is now the alley.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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