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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Juvie: 1922

Juvie: 1922

Washington, D.C., circa 1922. "House of Detention, Ohio Avenue N.W." Equipped with a nice playground. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Any and all help wanted.


I am a novice historian of the Washington D.C. metropolitan Police. I would be very grateful for any information that could be forwarded to me. My site is;

My e-mail address is

Be Safe,

Mystery Car

The car at the left corner is a Ford Model T speedster. Looks to be home-built. Cars like this were common in the 20s and 30s. Usually built by young men, they were considered quite rakish.

Emergency Hospital

Does anyone know if this building was previously used as the Emergency Hospital, which was described as standing at 15th and Ohio Avenue?

Go a bit too Far

And here's your home away from home!

Both DC and Maryland Tags

Note that the cars carried both DC and Maryland tags. There was not reciprocity between DC and Maryland at the time. My parents had stories of swapping tags at the DC line.

Where Ohio reappeared

As construction of the Federal Triangle was displacing Ohio Avenue, development of the tidal basin/Potomac Park area created an opportunity for it to reappear in a much more casual setting, as Ohio Drive. The Buckeye State fared much better than the Hawkeye State, however. At the peak of Iowa's political power in Washington (with a native in the White House and eleven members in the U.S. House), Iowa Circle became Logan Circle. Iowa's place of honor is relegated to a short, irregular route through Sixteenth Street Heights.

Soap Box Derby on steroids

Can any Shorpsters identify the vehicle sitting at the left rear corner of Juvie Hall? Also, the awnings on the windows are a nice, homey touch on a pretty grim place.

What is this House of Detention?

Readers might ask: "What is this House of Detention, who is detained there, exactly where is it, and when was it opened?" Well, let's ask Mrs. W. C. Van Winkle ...



Mr. DAVIS. We started this morning to go over the estimates for the House of Detention; and there are quite a few things here that even the commissioners, I am sorry to say, did not fully understand: and the suggestion was made that you come before the committee and fully inform us on certain matters. Will you give us a short description of the activities of the House of Detention, what part you play in them, etc. ?

Mrs. VAN WINKLE. You know what the building is used for, do you not?

Mr. DAVIS. I think I do; but perhaps you had better put it in the record. You know there are 435 Members of the House, and they do not know all that is to be known about these, things.

Airs. VAN WINKLE. The House of Detention is a shelter for all juvenile delinquents. A delinquent in the District is a child under 17. That means that both boys and girls are sheltered there. All female offenders over 17; all stranded women and girls; all fugitives from institutions and from parents.

Mr. DAVIS. Regardless of age?

Mrs. VAN WINKLE. No, not of male prisoners over 17; but regardless of age of fugitives from institutions if they are females: and also little children who are fugitives from home. All the wards of the Board of Children's Guardians who are awaiting a home, or pending trial in the juvenile Court, and such cases as the judge of the Juvenile court determines must wait with us, even after trial in court, until sentence and final disposition.

Mr. DAVIS. You are connected with the House of Detention in what way ?

Mrs. VAN WINKLE. We formerly had policemen detailed to the house. When we moved into the new house at Fifteenth Street and Ohio Avenue on September 1, 1920, the chief of police detailed me as director of the House of Detention. He made me directly responsible for the care of the children in that house and for the discipline and direction of the employees.

Mr. DAVIS. Do you have to do with the female policemen?

Mrs. VAN WINKLE. I am Director of the Women's Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Or else

So that's the place where my mom was going to send me if I didn't straighten up my act. Although back then they called it reform school. The bars on the windows lend a nice homey touch. BTW, I was pretty sure she wouldn't do it -- but not sure enough to call her bluff.

Where did you go, Ohio?

"In the 19th century, an Ohio Avenue did exist just south of and parallel to Pennsylvania Avenue. The avenue was obliterated in the early 20th century by the Federal Triangle complex proposed by the 1902 Senate Park Commission Plan. The United States Department of Commerce and the Internal Revenue Service currently sit on the path of the old Ohio Avenue."

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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