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Nightline: 1924

Nightline: 1924

The year is 1924 and the city is Washington, D.C. What's going on here? Your guesses, educated and otherwise, welcome in the Comments box. View full size.
UPDATE: As correctly surmised in the very first comments, these are baseball fans. The original caption: "October 3, 1924. Washington, D.C. Waiting in line for tickets for the opening game of the World Series. Picture snapped at 10 p.m. October 3rd, twenty-four hours before the tickets will be placed on sale."


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Facts be darned!

Evidence, Schmevidence! Mr. Stanton Square's usual fine research notwithstanding, I would vote for Charlene's answer as the true story behind this photograph. Should we need an alternative, I suggest that this is a late-night spitting contest; the fellow in the flapjack-size hat appears to be winning!

Shouldn't have second-guessed myself

My user name should clue you in on my interest in the '24 Nats.

Spitting contest?

That's a lot of loogie there on the sidewalk.

I didn't know Bob Hope would need to wait in a line like this for tickets.

I'd wager a small amount

that the four young men on the right under the window are all brothers, possibly the one half hidden against the wall makes five, an just possibly Pa, just to the left of him?

Oh shoot

I thought they were in line for the new iPad.

Would-Be Bleacherites

Ding-Ding-Ding! Leo and ghostofwadelefler called it right. A nearly identical photo of the same group of men accompanied the following article.

Washington Post, Oct 4, 1924

1,000 Before 2 A.M. Take up Vigil for Seat in Bleachers

"First Man" in Line Soon After Noon;
Vantage Positions Sell High.

Scorned since their erection because of their vulnerability to sun and rain, the bleachers at American League park this morning are the object of the greatest siege by ticket seekers this city has ever seen.

At 2 o'clock this morning more than 1,000 red-hot baseball fans were bivouacked outside the high walls on the Fifth street side of the park, and their number constantly increased. The words "red hot" are used to describe the type of fan in line; not his condition physically. It was cold outside that wall, and even the blankets and overcoats that some of the more foresighted brought along did not keep away the shivers.

Preceding the siege of the bleachers, which began at 1:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon, was a great rush for reserved seats. Five thousand frenzied fans lined up to buy the meager supply of uncalled-for reserved seat tickets that were put on sale at noon. Of this number only 200 went away happy, as there were only that number of tickets sold.

Undoubtedly many of those who were disappointed in their efforts to get reserved seats fell in with the would-be bleacherites later on. There was a real world series atmosphere outside the bleacher walls as midnight arrived. Some of the fans in line were curled up on boxes asleep, others were crooning popular melodies, while the majority were engaged in seemingly endless discussion of the merits of the two teams that will take the field today.

Vendors of "hot dogs" and coffee did fine business, as did vendors of soap boxes and pillows. There was also some scalping. Boys who arrived early offered to sell their places in line for as little as 50 cents and as much as $1.50, depending on the proximity of their seats to the ticket booth.

The honor of being the first man in line went to Charles W. Bell, 507 Fourth street northwest. Bell left the veterans bureau at noon and at 1:30 o'clock took up his position next to the ticket window.

Further down the line was a 74-year-old farmer, who came here from Salisbury, Md., just to see Walter Johnson pitch in his first world series. He said he had been following Johnson for the last 18 years.

It was evident a large number of those who would buy bleacher seats were going to be disapointed. There were about 3,5000 of these tickets. The booths selling the bleacher space in center field will open at 9 o'clock, and tickets will sell at $1.10. The standing room sells at $3.30 and will go on sale at 1:45.

Photo Caption: A midnight flash shows part of the long line that extends down Fifth street and around Florida avenue to be on hand today for the $1 bleacher tickets for the game. Extra overcoats and blankets were in evidence. Along with professional "line holders," who sell their place to the highest bidder, were professional and business men, whose wives drove their machines home after seeing that their husbands were as comfortable as possible.

Photo Credit: Hugh Miller, Post Staff Photographer.

I have a dream

Protests to new segregation laws.

I think

I think they are waiting for Metallica backstage passes so they can rock out with the band.

Waiting for Woodrow

Woodrow Wilson died in February 1924. Since he lay in state at Washington Cathedral and is the only president to be buried in Washington, DC, it could be that the men are waiting for the funeral procession. (There are 2 policemen to the left). However, they don't seem to be particularly warmly dressed, though, and the man standing in the doorway is covered with mud.

Calvin Coolidge was elected in Nov. 1924, but, again, they aren't warmly dressed fro it being November.


I'm not sure what's going on, but whatever it is, it's very interesting to me that this is a mixed-race group in what was at the time a segregated city.


Opening night (midnight show) for the new "Star Wars" movie.

The Local Graft Association

An emergency nighttime meeting to counteract the rash of civic improvement initiatives organized by the Capitol City Do-Gooder's Association.

The Fuzz

Is that a ghost police officer to the right of the tree, behind the young African American man?

Big Bang

I don't know what they're doing, but I can speculate that the photographer set off a HUGE amount of flash powder, somewhere to the camera's left, to make this image.

Must have been quite a pop, considering how far away the still-illuminated people in the center are.

According to Wikipedia, flash bulbs weren't invented until 1927. So if you needed more light, you'd just use more powder.

Round 'em up

I agree with the speakeasy or underground gambling establishment theory. A policeman can be spotted behind the African American man wearing the sweater-vest. And no one appears to be pleased at the circumstances in which he's found himself.

Several of the men seem to be wearing similar lapel pins (one young man is wearing one on his sweater). Perhaps a meeting of a trade union or fraternal organization was the cover for whatever the real purpose of the establishment was.


The DMV!

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

The mother of all crap games is about to begin.

Looking For Work

Laborers of some kind maybe, waiting for the boss man to come around and select a lucky dozen or so for a weeks worth of work at fifty cents a day.

I'm thinking Jim Doughty may be right

I focused more on the line of men and less on their facial expressions and body language. Busted!

Lined Up

It's the night before the release of the newest gadget by Apple Differential Engines wizard Hieronymus Jobs: the iMonocle.

1924 was an Election Year

It doesn't look like the men on the right are in a queue because of the men on the stoop. I'd say they're waiting for "Fighting Bob" LaFollette to give his presidential election concession speech. The men on the left came out to sell some snacks.

Early protest march

Dateline Washington DC, April 1924:
Female animal rights activists marched on the Capitol last night chanting "I'd rather bare my ankles than wear fur-lined boots" while crowds looked on.


They're waiting in line for Rolling Stones tickets.

Waiting on a sale

Tomorrow, dark suits and dark hats half off! Bow ties 75 percent off!

Didn't speak easy enough?

Wondering whether these men had just been rousted from a basement establishment.

It's hard to read the expressions on their faces, but "My wife is going to kill me" and "They don't expect us all to fit in that one paddy wagon, do they?" seem to be among the plausible interpretations. I see at least one guy (tall young bow tie wearer) who may have been tending bar.

Waiting to buy World Series tickets

It doesn't look like the Griffith Stadium box office but possibly one of the buildings across the street from it?

Opening Day

Walter Johnson's pitching tomorrow for the Senators, what else could it be?

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