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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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The Annex: 1918

The Annex: 1918

Washington, D.C., circa 1918. "Emergency Fleet Corporation, building exterior." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

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The car in the picture is a 1915 Milburn model 15 (their introductory model). Until 1916 most enclosed cars were electric. The electric Coupés usually had a three place bench seat across the back and one or two bucket or folding jump seats that faced aft, or rotated to face either direction.

Back seat driver

The electric car was driven from the back seat. If you look, you can see two tillers sticking up on the far side of the car. When the driver gets in, they pull these down across their lap and control the car with them.

Motor Muffs

The Fords both have hood covers. Keeping in mind that the engine bay is open underneath, plus the Model T had a low-mounted updraft carburetor, there is no danger of stifling the motor even if the covers were left on during use.


There is also a bicycle leaning against the tree in the lower right corner.

Razed for Parking

We tend to think of parking shortage as a contemporary issue - but finding space in the urban environment to park cars has been a challenge since the mass production of automobiles began. It's hard to believe that a six-story building would be razed to make way for a surface parking lot, but that is what happened. The Service Parking Corporation razed at least a dozen buildings in downtown to replace them with surface parking. Other buildings lost to the Service Parking Corporation include the Edward Apartment Building (15th St), Gramercy Apartments (825 Vermont Ave), Marini's Hall (914 E st), and the former residence of President Buchanan (916 E st).

Washington Post, Jan 7, 1933

Builders Exchange Building Will Pass

Site on Thirteenth Street is Leased to
Auto Service Parking Company.

Disappearance of the former Building Exchange Building, another landmark of the downtown business section, at 719-721 Thirteenth street northwest, is forecast following completion of an important parking lease for the building's site yesterday by the offices of Carl G. Rosinski and Harvey A. Jacob.

The site of the building, containing 10,093 square feet, has been leased for five years for the Stilson Hutchins estate to Service Parking Ground, Inc, and organization with out-of-town headquarters, which has been in business for seventeen years and is operating more than 50 parking lots throughout the country.

3 in a coupe

The 3-passenger coupe was a popular style in that first decade of autos. The driver had a bucket seat, and the left rear passenger was crammed in behind the driver. The right rear passenger had more legroom. Some models included a fold-down jump seat facing backwards in the right front position; this passenger's back was against the dashboard.

I Tawt I Thaw A Puddy Cat!

It appears that there are 3 occupants in the electric car: A woman in an elegant hat, a gentleman in a topcoat, and the chauffeur - a Bedouin preparing for a sandstorm. The last effect may just be due to the tree reflection across the windshield, but it definitely looks like the driver is wearing a mask/muffler of some sort - maybe because to the flu epidemic? Dave, is it time to bring out the ShorpyVision? But the other passenger is missing, because they just dropped Tweety Bird off at the vets.

Electric, Gas, and Hay - Oh My!

What an interesting time period when it came to transportation. Besides the gas powered automobiles parked on the street, and the Milburn Electric in the center of the photo, you can see the very back end of a horse-drawn wagon in the lower right of the photo. If you look at the plate glass window of the "Builders and Manufacturers" office, you can see the reflection of the horse hitched to the wagon.

Horse Blanket

Can anyone explain the function of the cover over the engine hood on the car in the lower left corner? I'd guess it's there to prevent freezing in cold weather, but it completely covers the radiator face and side vents as well, and I'd think it would tend to starve the carburetor.


I like old cars but I'm not familiar with cars as old as the one in the foreground. That being said, I'm pretty sure that is a steam powered car

Horseless Carriage

Can anyone ID the vehicle in the center of the photo? It's intriguing because it looks as if there are two people inside of it that are facing each other.

Parallel parking?

I'm surprised by the haphazard way the cars are parked on both sides of the street. And the jaunty little car center front is a puzzlement. I think I can identify the front by the headlights, but it looks like the passengers are seated facing each other. Where is the steering wheel?

[It has a tiller. - Dave]

Builders' Exchange Building

According to the Washington Post, this was built in 1890 at 719-721 Thirteenth Street, NW., between G and H (Post, March 20, 1890 p.4; July 25, 1909 p. R2)

Electric Car?

Is that a Milburn Electric in the center foreground?

This Milburn Electric Model 27 looks similar.


That's a charming little electric runabout. It's hard to tell whether it's coming or going.

1918 Milburn electric car

The car in the foreground appears to be a 1918 Milburn electric car.

On second thought, the car

On second thought, the car might be a Detroit Electric instead of a Franklin,
anyway either would be a blast to drive, although range was limited to 20 miles plus or minus.


Looks like a Franklin Electric in the foreground, a car about 90 years ahead of its time. Would love to take a drive in one of those today!

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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