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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Table Setting: 1920

Table Setting: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Gus Buchholz, Occidental Hotel interior." A view of the restaurant. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

The cigar selection is amazing

It's not easy to tell what's on offer, but there seem to be a lot of non-Cubans in the boxes on the shelves. I recognize two Cuban brands in the glassed-in countertop: Hoyo de Monterrey and Belinda, the latter is not well known but is a fine Havana cigar. That said, although I do enjoy a good cigar, the idea of lighting one inside a restaurant while others are eating strikes me as extremely rude. I know those were different times, but cigars should be fumed out on the verandah, where they belong!

Perhaps the idea is that patrons would purchase a stick or two to fill their leather cigar-pouches when leaving the eatery. In any case, Shorpy.com is a delight and thanks for helping preserve the past.

The Thing

The thing in the lower right is another cash register.

Theatre listings

I wonder why all the theatres are listed as closed? Was there a strike or bad weather or...?

Chez Ashtray

All the fans and the hood must be to move out all the cigar smoke. What did they serve besides Stogies?

Choice seats for the theatres

In 1919, one could have purchased tickets here to see Helen Hayes as Dorothy Fessenden in "On the Hiring Line" at the National Theatre.

Ah, nostalgia

I was taken to the Occidental for lunch on my first day working as a paralegal out of college. As I recall, they still have the photos of the bright and the bold on the walls, although the dining space is much enlarged and renovated.

There is Glory Enough for All

Nice Mission-style couch and chairs on the right. But what's with the range hood right there in the dining room? I guessing that whether for heat or cooking, it's out of use (seasonally?), what with a table right in front of it.

Quote of the Day

The framed maxim on the far right reads:

"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." -- George Washington"

Is that all there is?

After all the hoopla about the Occidental, I expected a grand dining room.

Surplus Furniture

What a mishmash of seating. Was this a low budget place or did people just not care about aesthetics during the time?

That two-headed fan is pretty cool. I'm guessing it rotates.

I Give Up

There is some sort of thing in the bottom right corner next to the closest chair. Please tell me what it is.

Cigar Smoker's Paradise

What a variety of cigars! No humidors to be seen, though.

My 3 Cents

The machine behind the counter is a National Cash Register Model 7, probably from around the turn of the century. What is interesting is that inside the cash drawer is a separate lockable metal box for gold currency -- not much of a worry today.

William Henry Seward Quote 1850

March 11th 1850 in Seward's first major speech as a member of the Senate the second framed quote on the left was spoken upon the subject of slavery and laws that allow it:

The Constitution regulates our stewardship; the Constitution devotes the domain to union, to defense, to welfare, and to liberty. But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part ... of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator of the universe. We are his stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure, in the higher attainable degree, their happiness.

 
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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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