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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Rear Entrance: 1937

Rear Entrance: 1937

September 1937. "House in Negro quarter of Rosslyn, Virginia." Washington, D.C., and the Key Bridge form the background for this curious scene. Medium-format negative by John Vachon. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Address of this house

Based on an aerial photo of Rosslyn at this time and the 1943 Arlington street/lot map (see both attached), the address of this house was 1934 North Fort Myer Drive, on the southwest corner at the intersection of North 20th Street. The present-day intersection is N. Ft. Myer Dr. and eastbound Lee Hwy. Credit to Jeff Clark, John Dowling, and Steve Palmeter on the "Northern Virginia History" Facebook group for help in zeroing in on the exact location.

Old W&OD Terminal

If you look off to the left, in the foreground, below the Key bridge you can see the W&OD terminal which was torn down in 1939 to make way for the GW parkway.

Current view

The attached photo was taken in the same general location as this LOC photo. The green space in the foreground of the current photo is the George Washington Memorial Parkway National Park. This portion of the parkway was built between the 1940s and 1950s, and the neighborhood in this photo may very well have been torn down to accommodate it.

You Are Here

This might be about where present-day N. Fort Myer or N. Lynn Street are now. Interesting to see roads are dirt. The Key Bridge Marriott was built where Arlington Brewing Co. was. Its building was erected around the turn of the century and brewery closed in 1916. Ultimately it became Cherry Smash Bottling plant. The Rosslyn area had been location of saloons and brothels until closed in early 1900s. When I was a child in early '50s it was terminus of RF&P railroad and Capital Transit streetcars and also the location of car lots and pawn shops.

Re: Mom locked us out!

Not really, that downstairs backdoor is open and ajar. Looks more like these boys are just fooling around, maybe watching the photographer at work.

Where is this?

It would appear that the location of this photo is now about where the Key Bridge Marriott is located.


In the lower right, you can see that the rear doors from the abandoned truck have been used to patch the roof on the structure next to it

Ancient Auto

Anyone know what make and model car that is? It clearly has not moved in years.

Not Mary Jane

If it was they could afford to move to a nicer place.

Is that a church at one o'clock?

(I think those buttresses would have caught my eye if that building still stood.)
And for more on the Georgetown Tower of Flour

Mom locked us out!

I wonder if that was the story behind the three boys on the roof, trying to get in through the window; that Mom was out working and didn't get home as early as she expected (or the boys' job doing yard work was finished before expected).

Castor beans most likely

Looking carefully at that whole stand you can see at least 5 clumps of what appear to be what Nicodeme says--castor bean plants. My mother used to grow them and they make beautiful red accents in a garden, often quite tall, too. I think this is a flower border, despite the ramshackle house. Although not particularly well-tended, there does seem to be a rough logic with lower, flowering plants along the front and the taller at the back. Castor plants are often very red. Ought to have been quite a colorful border.

More on wikipedia:


It looks more like castor bean plants to me. They're quite easy to grow pretty much anywhere. The beans are highly toxic though, and are actually used to make the poison ricin.


I think that's okra--all overgrown after a long summer.


Allie: I don't think so. To the extent one can tell at this resolution it looks more like Jatropha multifida. Possible some type of cleome (from the flower stalks), but I don't think any cleome has leaves that are heavily serrated like these.

I'd say

this is a second story job.


Is that marijuana growing by the side of the house?

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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