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About the Photos

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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Corridor of Power: 1939

Corridor of Power: 1939

February 3, 1939. Washington, D.C. "House-Capitol tunnel may get moving walk. Footsore Congressmen may find succor in their journey from the House office building to the Capitol by proposed installation of a 'moving sidewalk.' President Roosevelt made the supplemental request for $200,000 in an appropriation bill sent to the House Wednesday. David Lynn, Capitol Architect, made a similar proposal last year. A rail subway between the two offices has been decided to be impractical because of the heavy traffic between House office buildings and the Capitol." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

That rippled, shiny floor

makes it appear at first glance to be full of water. One might expect the Phantom of the Opera to paddle by in his gondola.

Typical Government Sloth

Proposed in 1939 and still no "moving sidewalk." However, there is an underground train from the Rayburn House Office Building (two blocks west of the Cannon House Office Building where this tunnel is located) to the Capitol. This tunnel still looks the same (except there is a continually changing display of artwork submitted by children through their congressional offices displayed on the wall on the right).

Pipes

Oh, and the pipes on the left bring water/steam & electricity to the Capitol from its own power plant not too far away. They're still there and they're painted an ugly peach color, as are the walls of the basement of the Capitol. Luckily, though, there are Shorpyish photographs throughout the basement showing what the various and sometimes now walled-in rooms were like way back when. Pretty neat.

Nothing changes

The floor's the same, the railing is the same, all that's changed is now they display Congressional Art Competition winners all along the right wall, from all states & territories. It's called the Cannon Tunnel and it never got its moving walk.

Lang Lens

Looks like a scene out of "Metropolis." Modern design, shiny and new.

Could it be?

I think this photographer captured the notorious Eminence Grise of the Roosevelt Administration. That looks like him on the walkway, almost at the curve.

70 years later

The tunnel looks exactly like this, nothing was ever built.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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