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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Aerial Washington: 1911

Aerial Washington: 1911

Circa 1911. "Washington from Washington Monument." Points of interest in this first installment of a six-segment panoramic view include B Street (today's Constitution Avenue), running diagonally from the Potomac Electric powerhouse at lower left; Louisiana Avenue, branching off in the general direction of Union Station at upper right; the Old Post Office and its clock tower at left-center across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Raleigh Hotel under construction; the Agriculture Department greenhouses in the foreground with a corner of the Smithsonian "National Museum" at far right, just below Center Market; Liberty Market at upper left, below what looks to be a vast tent encampment; and, at right-upper-center, the Pension Office north of Judiciary Square and the District Court House. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Ford's Theater

I had a thought that Ford's Theater was off in this general direction, so I took a look. Not being all that familiar with D.C. I'm wondering if that is the peak of the theater with porthole just above the scaffolding atop the hotel under construction.

DC in 1911

What a great photo. More of these buildings than one would think are still there. The "District Court House" south (right) of the great Pension Building on Judiciary Square is the original DC City hall, started in 1820. After a several-years-long redo, it now houses in grand style the DC Court of Appeals (the state supreme court for the District.) Peeking around the office building to the left of the City Hall on 5th Street NW is the then-new US Court of Appeals building, which housed what is now the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit until 1952, when it moved to the new federal courthouse on Constitution Avenue (now the Prettyman Courthouse.) The old US Court of Appeals building now houses the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, on which I am privileged to sit. It is an exquisite little building, quite well-preserved, with many of its original furnishings.

Cargo Tram

Now there's something I had never really thought of: street cars for freight; a forerunner of today's semi-rigs I suppose. There's one being loaded/unloaded in front of the lumber yard.

"Tents"

All those tents are actually slate turret roofs on top of rowhouses. Very typically, a pyramid shaped slate turret would top off the projecting bay of a DC rowhouse. All four sides would have been slated. Slate, because of its mineral content (lots of mica) can be very reflective at certain angles, hence the white appearance.

[Conical was also popular. - Dave]

+86

Below is the same view taken in December of 1997. (Please excuse my still-limited scanning talents - this was before I switched to digital.)

Kann's Busy Corner

aka Kann's Department Store. A good history of the life and death of the buildings can be found here.

[More here. - Dave]

First of six?

Great! Bring them on!

Surprising

Surprising lack of motorized vehicles for ca. 1911.

[Here are seven. - Dave]

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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