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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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Urban Elephant: 1923

Urban Elephant: 1923

December 5, 1923. Probably Washington, D.C. View full size. 4x5 glass negative, National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Pennsylvania & 14th

Kenny D is quite right. The view is on Pennsylvania Av NW looking SE at 14th St NW. The Willard Hotel is behind to the left. The misty building on the right is the Southern RR Headquarters, behind which is the Post Office Tower. Also on the left background is the outline of Raleigh Hotel. The DC Police had a manual traffic device in various location at this intersection thru the 1920s. Circus always provided good promo in DC.

D.C. Elephant

I think this is probably taken in front of the Willard Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. I believe the shadowy tower above the elephant's trunk is the former Post Office Headquarters (now the Old Post Office Pavilion)

bus stop?

I thought that instead of a "old traffic light" it was a bus stop with an umbrella to people wait below and to protect from the rain :-)

The Stop Sign

That Stop sign looks to be a predecessor of the traffic light - one side says "Stop" and the sign perpendicular to it probably says "Go". Umbrella to protect the traffic cop who operated it from getting wet in the rain. As for the elephant, could the circus be in town? Obviously a publicity photo showing how smart the elephant is or maybe how the trunk is able to grasp things. Wherever it is, it's a pretty major intersection - note the cobblestones surrounding the street car tracks on both streets.


What is going on here? Is the elephant operating the interesting old stop sign? Is he on his way to work (if this is DC) at the Republican party headquarters? There has to be more information!

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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