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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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Postal Palace: 1905

Postal Palace: 1905

Washington, D.C., circa 1905. "P.O. Dept." The Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


I'm so glad this wonderful building is still standing. But even with the vibrant color photo as a guide, it is still nearly impossible for me to visualize the vintage image in color. Surely the world was black and white back in 1905.

Always room at the top

When I go into DC I always try to go by the old PO, and when we have visitors I always take them to the top of the tower. Only in the summer is it crowded with tourists. Today with the Washington Monument closed this may very well be the best place to view the vistas of DC.


Below is the same perspective taken in April of 2010.

Tales of the P.O.

Favorite quotes from the Wikipedia article:

Opening ceremonies were marred when the postmaster of Washington fell to his death down an elevator shaft.
The new structure was derided in The New York Times as "a cross between a cathedral and a cotton mill".
The Old Post Office Pavilion was less than ten years old when cries were heard that it should be torn down.


Isn't it grand that this wonderful building was spared and still stands. What a loss that would have been.

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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