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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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Hot Texas Wieners: 1939

Hot Texas Wieners: 1939

Spring 1939. "Washington, D.C., lunchroom." Offering, in addition to Lone Star tube steaks, "Tables for Ladies." Medium format acetate negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Re: I'm looking at

One of the few items in the possession of my family that used to belong to my maternal grandfather, a commercial sign painter, is a book entitled How to Paint Signs and Sho' Cards (1920), written by E.C. Matthews (1892 to 1977), and filled with wonderful information and illustrations on everything from how to mix paints to how to paint window signs. You can view the whole book here.

You always want the one you don't have

I've never understood why I can get Coney Island Red Hots in Texas, and Texas Footlongs or Texas Weiners in Coney Island.

Tables for ladies

This is near the end of the era when no respectable woman would dare to sit at a bar, though I wonder if lunch counters fell into that category as indicators of depravity. More likely, women preferred tables to the counter because of the requisite feminine impedimenta of the time -- purse, hat, gloves, Woodward & Lothrop shopping bag, etc.

Of course, until at least the early '60s, DC had a set of blue laws that seemed to rival those prevailing far to the south in the Bible Belt. As least as recently as 1961, though the drinking age for all adult beverages was only 18 (just like New York state and all military installations until fairly recently), DC bars closed at midnight on Saturday to avoid profaning the Sabbath. A local ordinance also prohibited moving one's own drink from one table to another or even standing with one, perhaps to inhibit table-hopping by ladies of the night. I was once forcibly evicted from Bassin's (12th and Penn, NW, and long gone) for standing up at my table with a beer in my hand to offer a toast to the newly elected JFK.

Another stricture was that the server could not bring you another drink so long as a single drop remained in the glass you already had unless the latter was simultaneously removed. Far from promoting moderation, that regulation encouraged the imbiber to chug the previous potable while signaling the server for another.

Strange but bizarre are the ways of regulating public behavior!

I'm looking at

the hand-lettered sign, truly a work of art and it was painted backwards on the inside.

Changing Times

The baseball poster advertises a game between two teams of the Negro Leagues. Normally, one would have seen this at a "Colored Only" lunchroom in 1939, yet that doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps, these games had white fans, too.

Hotdog and cold glass bottle of Pepsi for a shiny silver dime

I would be spending my lunch hour there as even back then it was a great price! Try getting anything for $1 these days.

As so many others have stated here: If only I had a time machine...


In my home state of RI, you can get New York weiners.

"Spick and Span"

HOT TEXAS WEINERS (sic) evidently a late addition to the menu.
From July 10, 1915:

Long Established

From the Washington Times, Thursday, July 15, 1915:

New Seventh Street Lunchroom Opened

        The latest addition to Washington's lunch rooms is the New System Lunch, at 913 Seventh street northwest, which opened its doors to the public on Saturday morning. The place was decorated with attractive floral pieces, and souvenirs were presented to all patrons.

        "The Dining Room That Is Different" is the slogan which has been adopted by Messrs. Roussos and Zagos, the proprietors, to describe the establishment.

        A large and varied menu is offered, with many special dishes.

A Piece of Good News! (Reproduced From Monday's Times)

        Hundreds of shoppers and business men are daily enjoying the splendid cuisine, sanitary surroundings, prompt service, and popular price at this big modern lunch room, recently opened "in the heart of the shopping district."

        "Satisfaction to Patrons" is our motto; give us a trial today! Souvenir Fans for the Ladies, which arrived too late for the opening day, will be given FREE to every lady on next Saturday. New System Lunch, Roussos, Zagos & Co., 913 7th Street N.W., "In the Heart of the Shopping District, Always Open."

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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