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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Monumental: 1919

Monumental: 1919

1919. "National Museum, air view from Washington Monument." The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (domed building at right) nine years after its completion. Harris & Ewing Collection. View full size.

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I'll regret asking, but......

How can this photo of the Washington Monument be "an air view from the Washington Monument"?

[The view is of the museum looking east from the Washington Monument. - Dave]


Ever wonder about the tip of the Washington Monument? Wonder no more.

Tennis, anyone?

I use to live in DC years ago, but don't ever recall a tennis court there. I can sense a more genteel era.

Federal Triangle

This image gives a fairly complete view of the Federal Triangle. Home today to the Department of Commerce, IRS, National Archives, and few other mammoth bureaucracies. The 1919 view shows the triangle's workaday pedigree: markets on Indiana Avenue, a powerhouse at 14th and Constitution, and a lumberyard opposite the National Museum. All of it gone today except for the Old Post Office, which appears above and just to the right of the Washington Monument's peak.


How were lawns mowed back in the day?

I doubt gas lawn mowers existed and hand mowing such large area would take forever.

[There were many gasoline mowers on the market early in the 20th century. Steam-powered mowers go back to the 1800s. Before that there were reel mowers pulled by horse teams. - Dave]

Where are the tourists?

What makes this photo kind of odd is that there's no long line of tourists waiting to get into the Washington Monument, like you'd see today. My best guess is that it was taken early on a Sunday morning. Or is there another explanation?

[The base of the monument, which is where the people would be, isn't in the photo. - Dave]

Miniature White House

The small building near the Washington monument looks like a model of the White House. Anyone know what it was?

[It's restrooms and a Park Service ranger station. - Dave]

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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