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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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Capital Hotel: 1920

Capital Hotel: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Old Capital Hotel, 3rd and Pennsylvania N.W." When the place was torn down in 1926, the sign had changed from "Capital" to "Capitol." Originally the St. Charles Hotel, it had a colorful (at times appalling) history going back to 1813. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

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Has anyone like me noticed that in almost every old pic, there is a "Coca-Cola" sign?

Love that font

That druggist's signage (he no doubt did a roaring trade in rubber goods) has a beautiful Art Nouveau font - got to find it, if only for the ampersand!

Washington slept here

... refreshed by good cigars and Coca-Cola.

St. Charles Hotel

For most of its long life, this was known as the St. Charles Hotel. Jesse Holland's 2007 book "Black Men Built the Capitol" notes that ads for this hotel bragged of elaborate "slave pens" in the basement, complete with iron doors, wall rings and chains. Those pens were a convenience to owners who would come to Washington for its vibrant prewar slave trade. The hotel's notice promised that, in case of escape, its proprietor would pay the slave's full value.


Shave and a haircut, four bits.

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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