The Shorpy Gallery
 
5000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PAN AMERICAN TO GUATEMALA, 1938

Smokestack Washington: 1921

Smokestack Washington: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Aerial view looking toward Capitol and Washington Monument." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Ordnance Office

Based on the bit of the 1919-1921 Baist Realty map below (click on it for a larger version), I would guess the photographer was on top of the Ordnance Office of the War Department. It is puzzling that the angle of the photo does suggest quite an elevation and the ordnance office doesn't appear to be a large building: perhaps there was some sort of observation tower on top of the building.

The smokestacks in the distance are indeed the Potomac Electric Power Co. Plant at northeast corner of 14th &B streets N.W.: they are also visible in the background of this Shorpy photo.

Also indicated on the map is the Frazee Potomac Laundry, seen here.

1919_red_cross_bldg

An Eclipse of the Ellipse

What puzzles me is the photographer's vantage point. No doubt it was from the corner of 18th and E Streets N.W., but was it from the roof of the Department of the Interior or a building that preceded it??

This photo looks to the east. The white building to the left is the headquarters of the American Red Cross. It's still there, but gone is the less-ornate wing to the right with its smokestack. I believe that building was one of the infamous "temporary" office buildings of First World War vintage that were ubiquitous features of DC landscape up until the late 1960s. The neighbor to the right is DAR Constitution Hall, which remains remarkably unchanged to this day. Across the street, of course, is the Ellipse, which you can think of as the "backyard" of the White House. Beyond the Ellipse are landmarks that need no introduction (the Washington Monument, the Old Post Office, the Capitol, Bureau of Engraving, etc.) Perhaps another reader can verify that the two smokestacks just left of center belong to a Pepco generator that powered street cars. Despite the haze, one can faintly see the arched roof of Union Station, appearing on the horizon to the far left.

[There was a tall brick building behind Red Cross HQ. Click below to enlarge. - Dave]

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.