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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Rent-a-Horse: 1865

Rent-a-Horse: 1865

April 1865. Washington, D.C. "John C. Howard's stable on G Street between 6th and 7th, where John H. Surratt kept horses before leaving town on April 1." From photographs pertaining to the assassination of President Lincoln, April-July 1865. Wet plate glass negative, photographer unknown. View full size.

 

Northern Liberties Fire Co.

Washington also had a Northern Liberties Fire Co. In 1840 the Northern Liberty Fire Company was organized. It was located at 8th & K Streets N.W. until 1856 when they moved to 6th Street and New York Ave. N.W. until they disbanded in 1858. On September 1, 1856 By-Laws and Regulations were adopted for the governing of the different volunteer companies. The following is quoted from those By-Laws: "Districts are hereby assigned to each of the fllowing companies, viz: Union, Franklin, Northern Liberties, Perseverance. Annacostia, and Columbia. And on the occurrence and during the continuance of a fire, it is made the duty of that company in whose district the fire shall occur, to exhibit their lanterns on their apparatus, and which shall be considered the rallying point for the standing committee. The Districts comprise the following sections of the city: For the Union, all that portion of the city lying in the First Ward. For the Franklin, the Second Ward and that part of the Seventh Ward between 10th Street west and the Potomac River, For the Northern Liberties, the Third and Fourth Wards north of the line of F Street. For the Perserverance, the Third and Fourth Wards south of the line of F Street, south and that part of the Seventh Ward lying between 10th and 4 1/2 Streets, west. for the Columbia, the Fifth Ward and that part of the Seventh Ward east of the line of 4 1/2 Street, west. For the Annacostia, the Sixth Ward. The apparatus was hand drawn, the horse was used in parades.

I'll have two axles and four tons of hay...

Why do I feel like I'm getting ready to play Oregon Trail?

Hose wagon

That shiny wagon, is it a hose wagon for fire fighting?
Does it have anything to do with Lincoln's funeral?
Is the name plate readable on blowup?
So many questions!

[It is a Northern Liberties hose cart. - Dave]

Northern Liberties

The sign on the hose cart identifies it as an import from Philadelphia. The industrial district of Northern Liberties supplied essential tools and weapons to the Union Army during the Civil War. The Northern Liberties Fire Bucket Company, established in 1821, was one of Philadelphia's first firefighting outfits. It was reorganized as the Northern Liberties Hose Company in 1828.

Gone With the Wind

Looks like this location is now occupied by the Verizon Center. Yeah, times change, but ...

So shiny and so new!

What really excites and impresses me about this photo (and many others on this site) is how it allows me to "view" 1865 as being "new." Look at how bright that paint job on the arch is -- as if it were completed only yesterday! And that brickwork, too! Just mortared last week! Like many people, I'd always thought of "the past" as being faded, drab and brittle -- but not here; it's almost like stepping through a portal into the real past as opposed to the past we're left imagining. I realize that I'm merely restating a very worn-out cliche, but it's true in this case: no broken-down and crumbling cemeteries that leave us feeling creepy or faded Daguerreotypes that distance and alienate us from the subject; just a bright, shiny, new paint-job that reminds us that "life" is always ongoing and "in the present." This photo is wonderful. Thanks for posting it.

Archie's gang

That's a great brick arch. No other support except for brick and mortar. Good luck finding one of today's "masons" who could do that.

Howard's Restaurant

I'd be a little hesitant about ordering a steak.

 
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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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