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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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Treasury Ghosts: 1863

Treasury Ghosts: 1863

Washington, D.C., early 1860s. "Treasury Department in Lincoln's time (Cash Room behind the desks)." At least two spectral presences here. Civil War glass negative collection, Library of Congress. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


Vintagetvs: "Ghosts apparently don't care for sweeping floors."

This made me laugh. I wonder how much debris could accumulate before it was time to sweep up? There are some other photos on here that also have litter strewn about, one in particular I remember, was a city park. For the most part, I do not think it is common today to see public buildings and parks with debris scattered about.

It is a fascinating photo and it is intriguing to see the user photos and comments as to the transformation of the room today. It is nice to see that it has been preserved and is still being used today.

Still Safe

I work in this room from time to time for Treasury events. In the back of the hall is a small room which still houses the original safe where the "cash" was kept, hence the name. Today they just keep the vault door open and use it to store event items such as tables, tablecloths, etc.

New uses

No longer used for its original purpose, the restored Cash Room now often serves as a meeting or conference room.


According to the Treasury site:

"In 1985 a renewed appreciation of the Cash Room's historic significance enabled the Treasury Department to begin restoration... The bronze gaslight chandeliers, which had apparently been scrapped around 1890 at the time electricity was introduced into the building were replicated from numerous historic photographs, including photographs taken by the Matthew Brady Studio around 1870."

Post Civil War

To quote from the Treasury Department's web site: "The Cash Room opened in June 1869 in the United States Treasury Department for the transaction of the government's financial business. The need for a bank in the Treasury Building arose indirectly from a reform of the country's monetary system in 1846 and from subsequent developments during the Civil War.

"The architect of the Cash Room, Alfred B. Mullett, designed it as a roofed version of an Italian palazzo, a traditional bank design throughout Europe."

Tainted money

A lot of money is tainted - Taint yours and taint mine.


At least one of our Ghosts moved the chair that's in the middle of the room. Perhaps the Ghost had time to walk from the chair to the back of the room? Ghosts apparently don't care for sweeping floors.

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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