SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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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The Nation's Attic: 1919

The Nation's Attic: 1919

1919. "Air view, National Museum (Smithsonian)." They call the Smithsonian Institution the nation's attic, but if they made it the nation's basement instead, the first term could more suitably be applied to the top of the Washington Monument. Here we see two visitors peering from its portals. Harris & Ewing. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Confirmed Memory!

In the early 1950s, My mother and I were visiting the monument with my aunt and her daughter. I was seven years old. A little girl (about two) somehow climbed into a window and was walking toward the edge. My mother gave a shriek and grabbed the child. I never forgot it!

Where Was the Photographer?

Any idea about from what vantage point this shot was taken? Balloon, blimp???

[Biplane. - Dave]

Fun fact.

The very tip of the monument is the largest piece of aluminum ever made up to that time. It was worth more than gold when it was smelted and put in place, if memory serves.

Cometh the Tax-man!

What a great view of the Federal Triangle-to-be.

Growing up from the early 70's, my mom and I would pick my dad up at the IRS building a couple of times a week when he wasn't carpooling, taking the bus or later on, the Metro.

It always seemed to me that those huge stone buildings had been there for a hundred years. I just figured that because of the materials that they had to be really old!

It's been really eye-opening to see that less than a hundred years ago that there were very different buildings there.

Open and Shut

Two differences between then and now -- the windows at the observation level have been closed since the late 50's or early 60's, and aircraft warning lights were added above them.

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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