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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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Smith Storage: 1920

Smith Storage: 1920

Washington, 1920. "Smith Storage Co., 13th & U Streets N.W." With the motor truck gaining fast on the horse team. National Photo Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Fidelity Storage, 1420 U Street NW

The color photo in an earlier comment shows 1420 U Street, Fidelity Moving & Storage, still in operation in 2016 as Extra Space Storage. Extra Space bought Storage USA circa 2005 and at that time began updating the property interiors, including replacing the original freight lift on the east side of the building. The elevator housing is seen on roof, the left edge of the photo. Up until then, the freight lift was in regular use and available to customers to operate themselves.

Light and installation artist Rockne Krebs and painter Sam Gilliam once owned the adjacent warehouse building next door. It is now Goodwood, a furnishings and home design shop.

Other artists in the immediate neighborhood included Franklin White, James Wells, Alma Thomas, and many younger artists of the 80s and 90s.

In the 1980s Treto Way, the large alley running from 14th street to 15th street was an open air drug market. In recent years, artists living in alley building behind U Street struggled with the developers of the Louis luxury apartment building, eventually winning some concessions but losing others to protect light and access to their property.

Fidelity Storage Company

Nice to see the photo of Fidelity Storage. The Building is still there at 1420 You Street NW but the company has changed hands many times since my Dad and Uncle sold the business in 1958. Started by my Grandfather, James L. Karrick, in 1905. I still have a miniature wooden mothproof rug storage chest from the company.

Ready to show off.

The wall doggers have the building lettered, and all the vehicles are lined up for the shot in front of their proud new facility. It appears the one truck backed into the spot over the huge pile of horse apples. While I'm sure they wanted those gone for the shot, I have every confidence that the street sweeper was avoiding that block!

[That's dirt from taking a tree out its hole in the sidewalk. - Dave]

Smith Storage Revisited

1920 photo of Smith Storage, next to the U Street Oyster House. Click to enlarge. Below, an Aug. 24, 1919, news item.

Smith Storage Co. Expands

Work on Big $140,000 Fireproof Warehouse
To Start This Week.

Plans have been completed by the Smith Storage and Transfer Company for the erection of a big six-story fireproof storage and warehouse at 1307 U street northwest, to cost $140,000. Work on the structure will begin this week.

The building is to be of reinforced concrete, with metal partitions, doors, rooms, walls, etc. It will have a frontage on U street of 70 feet, and depth of 120 feet. The architectural design is to be unusual, the barnlike effect usually noticeable in buildings of this character to be avoided, and the front having what might be called a mission in Spanish effect. ...

A. C. Smith: Mambo Enthusiast

Washington Post Sep 25, 1955

First Sold Flavored Snowballs, but This Was Too Seasonal

By Eve Edstrom

Forty-five years ago, Arthur Clarendon Smith went into business with four horses, two open-top feed wagons and $400 which he borrowed from his wife.

Today the assets of Smith's Transfer and Storage Co. are placed at $1,500,000. The firm has 200 employees, operates a fleet of 52 motor vehicles, owns six modern fire-proof warehouses and that slogan: "Don't make a move without calling Smith's."

At age 72, the founder and owner of the moving company still works from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily, never takes a vacation and never intends to retire.

His success secrets are simple: Take a 15-minute nap twice a day, leave liquor alone and vote the Democratic ticket.

... by the time he was age 10, he was in business, selling flavored snowballs for a penny apiece. This business was too seasonal, though, and his next venture was raising guinea pigs. His father soon offered him more money, 50 cents a day, and he went to work for Clarendon Smith's wholesale grain and feed company at 5th and K sts. nw.

The alert Arthur wasn't long in noting there was a great need for adequate means of transporting grain. More important, he was convinced that horsedrawn vehicles soon would be a thing of the past, that motor trucks would benefit a transfer business.

So in 1910 he founded the Greater Washington Express Co. The first three years were not happy ones financially. As Smith recalls them, he was best by fires, thievery and payments of fines to the Humane Society. ...

In 1916 Arthur Clarendon Smith recognized the advantages which would result from operating storage facilities in conjunction with the growing transfer business. ....

Immediately after World War I, father and son set out to build a large fireproof storage warehouse. Construction of their main building began with only $10,000 in working capital. In 1920, it was opened at 1313 U st. nw. Valued at more than $300,000 today, it is the hub of all the firm's activities. ...

A vigorous man who smokes continually, Smith plays just as hard as he works. Currently, he and his bridge of almost 49 years are mambo enthusiasts.

Is this it?

I took a walk down that part of town today.

This building looks a bit like it, but is on U St. between 14th and 15th (not 13th as in the caption).

There are just enough differences between the photos to make me wonder, but it seems like the only similarly-size building in the area.

Smith Storage?

(Also, no horses now.)

Horse Hockey

I really hope those 3 horses weren't responsible for the pile of rubble beneath the trucks in the middle of that parade.

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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