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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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This New House: 1920

This New House: 1920

Washington, D.C., in 1920. "Sprague. Decatur Heights." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5


I don't believe that the siding shingles are either asphalt or asbestos. They look to be standard cedar shingles. In fact, that looks like a stack of cedar shingles, just to the left of the left-most gentleman.

I am guessing that the upstairs glazing in pane three, of the left window, has simply not yet been installed.

Regarding earlier craftsmanship, I'd wager that you haven't renovated many homes. It makes for some interesting insight. ;-)


Looks like someone broke a window upstairs.

Are the lallies rabbetted?

For anyone who has worked on a frame structure, this photo is a gem. If you haven't already seen it, may I recommend the 1948 film "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." And as mentioned earlier, mostly hand tools!

[A great movie. And the book, by Eric Hodgins, is even better. - Dave]


Looks to me more like asbestos than asphalt.

House shopping

There are two or three homes similar to this in Decatur Heights, Bladensburg, MD. On Edmonston Road near where Chesapeake, Crittenden and Buchanan Roads intersect.

One Bath

This is one bathtub and one large laundry tub or kitchen sink. And one toilet.

Sure is a Hudson

Looks like a 1918 Super 6 Phaeton

My aching arms

I'm sore just thinking of all the sawing that it took to put up a house in the era before power tools.

But for those shingles...

Except for the asphalt shingle siding (cheaper than wood), it looks like a great house, with a sturdy foundation. That house was built back when homes were constructed by craftsmen, with exceptional quality. Wonder if that house is still standing?


Luxury digs. Notice the bathtubs; this was going to be a two-bathroom house.

Re: "Fake" bricks

Those aren't "fake bricks," that's shingle siding. The bricks holding up the porch are real.

Fake bricks!

I always thought that fake brick façade stuff was a modern abomination. But here they are, applying it to a house in 1920! Great photo nonetheless.

White Triangle

The triangular radiator badge identifies the car as a Hudson. Nice photo, but who broke the upstairs window?

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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