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About the Photos

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 • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Candy Man: 1926

Candy Man: 1926

Washington circa 1926. "Semmes Motor Co. John Fisher truck." The more you look at this, the more you'll see. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

 

H Street Heritage Trail!!

This photo will be on a board along the H Street Heritage Trail. The board will stand across the street so everyone will know this buildings history. The trail is scheduled to open in March of 2012.

Thanks Aunt Liz

Thank you Aunt Liz for your recent photo and memories of living on Florida Avenue. I used to live a few blocks south of here and really appreciate your accounts of what the neighborhood was like.

MEMORIES OF 1008

YES, I REMEMBER THE HYDRANT. WAGONS CAME TO GET WATER FOR STREET CLEANING. SOMETIMES THEY FLUSHED IT OUT INTO THE STREET. THAT WAS FUN.

AND YES, THE HOUSE WAS A DUPLEX BUT WE DIDN'T USE THAT TERMINOLOGY IN THOSE DAYS. WE CALLED IT SEMI-DETACHED. I THINK OUR SIDE WAS PAINTED MORE OFTEN THAN THE OTHER SIDE. HENCE THE DIFFERENT APPEARANCE.

FLORIDA AVE WAS A BUSY STREET. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AVENUE WAS OUT OF BOUNDS FOR ME BECAUSE CROSSING WAS DANGEROUS. EARLY MORNINGS IN SUMMER THE STREET WAS BUSY WITH FARMERS WAGONS, LATER TRUCKS, HEADED FOR THE FARMERS' MARKET AT FIFTH STREET. WE USED TO GO UP TO THE GALLAUDET FARM TO GET MILK, VEGGIES IN SUMMER AND BEDDING PLANTS FOR MY MOTHER'S GARDEN. AND MY BROTHER AND I PLAYED MAKE-BELIEVE OUT IN GALLAUDET'S OPEN FIELDS.

I WAS BORN (IN THE UPSTAIRS FRONT BEDROOM) IN JULY 1920. I JUST MISSED THE 1920 CENSUS! WHEN I'M 90, I'D LIKE TO VISIT AGAIN TO HAVE MY PICTURE TAKEN WITH MY THREE WHEEL WALKER TO COMPARE WITH A FAMILY PHOTO IN SUMMER 1921 OF ME IN SHIRT AND DIAPER, HOLDING ONTO THE FENCE, WITH MY TEDDY BEAR AND MY KIDDY CAR, ALSO THREE WHEELS. AND I'LL SURELY HOLD ONTO THE FENCE WHICH IS NEW BUT REPLACED ONLY RECENTLY, WE WERE TOLD.

Welcome home, Aunt Liz

I think I speak for all of us when I say, "Wonderful to meet you!"

It continues to amaze me how we keep finding people with connections to so many of the old photos Dave shares with us each day.

Candy Man's Daughter 2009

Miss Fisher, the girl in the window, returned to her old home in December 2009.

Re: Aunt Liz

Dear Aunt Liz,

It is wonderful to hear of your personal connection with this photo and to read that you were able to return to the actual site and visit with the current residents.

Not to be too nosy, but ...

  • Do you have any memories of the time when this photo was taken or of your experience living at this house?
  • If you took any photos of your return visit, I am sure the Shorpy community would love to see them.
  • Would you be willing to share additional thoughts or emotions on visiting the house and neighborhood now?
with gratitude and respect,
Stanton Square

I'm the Girl in the Window

I was thrilled on Friday to see a picture I had never seen before. I drove out to the house with my nephew (one of the eight grandnephews) and niece who were visiting from Vermont. I had a great visit with the present occupants. Thanks for the memories!

[Dear Liz: We are all very happy to meet you! - Dave]

I know this girl!

The girl in the picture, the daughter of Edward Fisher Sr., is 89 years old. She is in fact on the way to this very location at this very moment, having just seen this photo courtesy of her niece. She is my aunt, and Ed Fisher Jr. was my dad. Next time I talk to her I'll ask about the hydrant.

Jekyll & Hydrant

Many thanks to Cosgrove for these photos of the gnomelike hydrant with a hidden personality:

Hydrant

Dave

The hydrant is located on the grounds of the Soldiers Home. To clarify what is under the cap. There are two male threaded outlets, each with a hand wheel valve. I have pictures of it but I don't know how to post them here.

Cosgrove

Fire Hydrant

The item in question is indeed a fire hydrant. They used to be all over the City. I do know where one is now in the Northwest section. Underneath the cap were two 2½-inch outlets with valves.

-- Coz

[Where exactly is it? - Dave]

Body By Fisher

Can't help but thinking "Body By Fisher" would be an apt term for any customers rendered portly by overindulging in Mr. Fisher's wares.

Looks like a duplex

The hedge centerline seems to match the lighter/darker line, and the very bottom bricks on the left side are painted white, but not on the right side.

[It is a duplex. 1006 on the left, 1008 on the right. - Dave]

Dark Side of 1008 Today

The Google Street View also shows evidence of the previously mentioned dark side/light side divisor down the bricks. I note Google has upped the resolution with their new street views. The older ones, like in San Francisco, rapidly turn to mush when you zoom in.

[I would say it's kinda scary-sharp. How long will it be before Google puts a "year" pulldown next to the zoom icon? - Dave]

The Thing-Spot

I see that the place where The Thing once resided now has some metal covers for what look like shutoff valves.

John William Fisher Jr.

Articles about Mr. Fisher in The Washington Post are rather scarce - perhaps because his business was wholesale rather than retail. The 1920 Census lists John W. Fisher, age 32, living at 1008 Florida with his brother, Edward, age 31, and sister-in-law Rosina.

From the Post, we can learn that the house was originally owned by his father: John W. Sr., who passed away in 1914 at age 49. His mother, Christine, was heir but nothing more is reported on her. Two years later the Real Estate Transfers reveal that the brothers split ownership of the house.

Edward G. Fisher died in 1957 and merited an obituary which reveals that John W. was still living at the 1008 Florida Avenue address at this time. The confectionery business was originally started by John Fisher Sr. and both brothers worked at it after their father's death.

As to the child in the window, Edward and Rosina had at least two children (according to his obit): Elise R. Fisher (who never married) and Edward G. Fisher Jr. (who became a Lutheran minister) - No information on their ages but they seem to have been born after the 1920 Census.

John W. Jr. died Sept 20, 1972, survived by Rosina, Elisa, Edward Jr. and 8 grandnephews. There is no evidence of John having been married or having children. Rosina died Feb. 29, 1980.

The dark side

The left half of the building looks darker than the right. The line goes from the hedge up to the roof. Could these been built at seperate times? Or is it a trick of the shadows?

[The bricks seem to be painted a different color on each side. Or maybe painted on just one side. - Dave]

The Candy Truck

The Dodge truck is approximately 1923. Dodge made a lot of commercial units at that time, basically used an open car front cowl and windshield and doors, and modified the back body to suit the use.

You can see "DB" (Dodge Brothers) on the hubcaps. The left rear fender is quite battered. Spare on the left side, with lock, and a neat fender light on the rear at the top, sort of a red and blue marker lamp.

The roadster or touring style left door has an extra sliding window attached, made with a wood frame. Presumably the driver left that affixed, and entered and exited through the curb door.

Urban Archaeology

I can't shed any light on what the device at the curb is, but I can say that this is one of those things that keep me coming back day after day. I love these little urban archaeological mysteries. This post has a second feature I always find fascinating, which is a modern day comparison shot. Thanks again for the adventures.

The Fence

Comparing this against the Google street view image, it looks like the delicate iron fence in front of the property survived. This is a minor miracle.

Thanks to gcreedon for posting the Google Street View image. This is always fascinating.

Da Door

Many times on delivery vehicles, people would enter and exit from the right, (passenger), side. If you look closely you can see there is no sliding window on the passenger side. There probably isn't a seat on that side and maybe no door either.

Hydrant

If you move one blip to the SE in the Google street view, then pivot around to the left and zoom in all the way, you can clearly see the current hydrant. I found a site that specializes in vintage hydrants (it would be foolish to think that such a thing did not exist) and sent an inquiry. We'll see if we can stump the band.

If that was a two-family dwelling, the family on the left is lucky—they have that nice little porch.

Here's the hydrant geek's reply:

That's a great photo. Is it a fire hydrant? I don't know. It is possible that it is the cover to a fire hydrant of an earlier type. If so, this would be the first documentation for this style fire hydrant in Washington, D.C., we've seen.

Take a look at the Curran hydrant on this page.

This style hydrant is short and is normally hidden beneath the protective cover.

In your photo there appears to be water on the sidewalk and curb near the mystery object, suggesting this is some type of water device.

Could it be a street washer? Street washers were small hydrants used to fill water wagons, for wetting down dusty streets. It's a possibility.

I think this is a matter for an historian or museum in DC to help sort out. Further photographic evidence, such as a hydrant in use with the same style cover sitting next to it would help.

Do let us know if you find out anything more out about this thing. I think that 1926 would be a late date for such an early covered fire hydrant, but you never know.

Either that or somebody left a pony keg on the curb.

The Thing

Looking at the Google street view, it's rather distorted, but you can make out the top part of a new fire hydrant at what appears to be the same location as that pot-bellied old one. So I'm voting for that being a fire hydrant which must have had the valve on the side we can't see, because that sure isn't a valve on top of it. Unless perhaps that top flipped open and there was a valve down inside. If so, you could say for certain they don't make 'em like that anymore.

[It looks way too short to be a fire hydrant. - Dave]

The lock on the spare tire.

There is a chain and padlock on the spare tire, presumably to prevent someone from walking off with it.

Hurry!

I betcha he stopped by to use the can. He left the door wide open. A quick dash and back to work. I can't figure out how those windows work. Does anyone think that they're attached to the door? It's the only truck of that era that I've seen on Shorpy that has a fully enclosed cab.

[The door is in two parts, upper and lower. You would have to open each one separately. - Dave]

Details

Looks like the truck has sliding cab windows, which must have contributed to an "interesting" entry or exit. Is the house a double? That might explain the placement of the ever-so-neatly trimmed hedge.

[Very good. The truck has a two-part door, the upper section with sliding glass. - Dave]

1008 Florida Avenue N.E.

"Capitol Hill Premium Cigars & Tobacco."


View Larger Map

What?!? Daddy's HOME????

As Mr. Fisher neglected to mention the midday appointment he had with the National Photo guy, at this moment there's an awkward scene taking place in a back room between Mr. Fisher, Mrs. Fisher and the mailman.

Fireplug

Is that a fire hydrant? Never saw one like that.

[That was the first thing that drew me to this photo. -- the Mysterious Pygmy Hydranty Thing. There's a similar one here. Maybe it was some sort of shutoff valve for a water line, or a sewer cleanout. - Dave]

Points

He's quite protective of his spare tire.

If that thing behind the truck is fire plug, he might be parked illegally.

Little Miss Fisher

I'd say she was the candy man's kid.

[Good. What are some other points of interest? - Dave]

The address on the van

The address on the van matches the number on the house? So the girl in the window is probably little Ms. Fisher.

Daddy's Home

Is the address on the truck the same as the house? If so, that's one lucky kid. The family dentist must have made a mint off of them.

Gumdrop

The little girl in the window may also be wondering where the candy man is. Special delivery?

[Very good. What else do we notice? - Dave]

 
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