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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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The Gas Shack: 1920

The Gas Shack: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Penn Oil Co., Columbia Road station between 17th & 18th." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


Argonne Place

This is the back of Argonne Place, which is in between Columbia Road and Harvard Street, 16th and 17th. Late 1920 is my best guess for time period.

Argonne Place

I'll have to get a better photo with my camera instead of my phone. The gas station is now an apartment complex. Houses built in 1921, and are still here. What do you think? I'd say it's the same developer if it's not the same houses.


Did anyone notice the Pennzoil sign on the shack? It looked old even THEN!

[The sign reads PENN OIL. - Dave]

The row houses

They look brand new, and modern -- anyone know if they are still around?

Aromatic hydrocarbons

Gas stations used to smell like gas stations; a 7-Eleven with a pump island doesn't.


I'm struck by the styling and the newness of those dwellings in the background -- it almost looks like a modern, present-day apartment complex being built in the background of a 1920 photograph.

Not a great deal

I was just thinking the other day that gas was selling for 24 to 28 cents a gallon during the gas wars of 1970.

33 cents a gallon!

That's pretty pricey for 1920!!!

No Frills Fuel

I'll bet it was fixed up real nice inside.

The price of gas

33 cents in 1920 is equivalent to $3.50 today. Guess I should stop complaining.

Lightning Motor Fuel

33 cents a gallon!


"Unescorted lady motorists always welcome. Open after dark!"

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | 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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