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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 CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

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.

 

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]

Tip-Top

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.

Lawnmowing

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]

 
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.

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