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Hidden Washington: 1923

Hidden Washington: 1923

"Produce wagon in city, 1923." One in a series of Harris & Ewing plates showing the alleys and backstreets of Washington, D.C. The subject here is a Chaconas grocery wagon. Who can identify the dome? 4x5 glass negative. View full size.


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Below is the same view from May of 2016.

About that blocked upper door

That building probably was a horse stable. Those upper doors were where hay was loaded into the building. There would have been a hole in the upper floor inside the building down through which the hay was tossed when it was Dobbin's feeding time.

"Horse, Buggy, Tether, Hitch etc. Weight"

Weights came in many shapes, styles and heft. Usually always connected, they were simply lifted by the long chain or rope and placed at the drivers feet when not in use. You can actually see one in use by a Doctor in a popular move but I'll be darned if I can remember which one. When the Doctor parks his buggy, he steps off, grabs the rope attached to the weight from the floorboard, walks to the horse and plops the weight on the ground.

Horse Weight

You will find one in this image-

Juxtaposition/ Transition

of/from the old and to the new, the horses/wagons in the front and the Model T truck to the right. Move over, guys, horseless is the way to go.

Re: Hidden Indeed

Regarding the horse weight, it was noted in this image previously:

Horse Weights

There is one found here:

Hee Haw

Judging by the animal, I would guess this was a Democratic ward.

Hidden Indeed

I am sure I just have not paid any attention to it before.

But after looking at around 175 images so far, you would think that I would have seen how that horse is being tied in some other image here as well.

I am thinking almost for certain that is a portable device and not one that is affixed to the ground, and just the weight of that object is enough to convey to the horse that is it indeed securely tied and has not chance of moving.

A simple device that the makers of even took the time to give a distinct shape and form, when any random object of similar weight would do.

One of the reasons I Love this site, is seeing things like this that were common place from that time, and are now extremely rare to see again that the everyday practical use.

That dynamic for me is so clearly demonstrated in this wonderful image.

[There is a "horse weight" in at least one other image here, although I don't remember which one. - Dave]

Hucksters and arabbers

I see in a previous posting, that such a wagon was referred to as a "huckster wagon". This reminds me of the Baltimore "arabbers" who drove throughout the city selling fruits and vegetables. I don't think most of the arabbers were affiliated with any grocery store - just independent businessmen.

As a youngster in Balto during the 1950s, I would see wagons full of watermelons or bananas - unloaded from the docks, and straight to the far-flung neighborhoods.

Arabbers were still doing business in Balto at the turn of this century, but lost their city-provided stables.

Related to this type of business, I remember men carrying grinding wheels on their backs - offering to sharpen ypur kitchen knives. Times have changed.

Looks Familiar

I'm pretty sure the building on the right with the double doors is the Krazy Kat.

Headlight lens

The V in green was unique for early-1921 on the Ford truck.

Building on right

Yes, the dome does indeed appear to be the Portland Flats, which is often called Washington's first luxury apartments. The only extant building in the photo are the stables on the extreme right, which is currently a bar called the Green Lantern.

Alley Shot From Last Month

This photo is fascinating.

On another forum I belong to, we were discussing alleyways of Washington. Here's a photo I took right off Thomas Circle, behind the modern office building I was working at that month, just off 14th Street and Vermont Avenue, NW.

Evidently this old carriage house is now a bar.

Portland Flats

The dome appears to be that of the Portland Flats apartment building that stood at Thomas Circle bounded by 14th Street and Vermont Avenue, NW.

Window Alteration

Right above the double doors to the right of the car there's an arched window that appears to have been closed after the building was built. But the upper floor door/window must have been there from the start which makes me think this was a correction during construction and not after. I wonder if the upper floor was originally designed with a smaller window but a last minute requirement changed that.

Shades of my childhood

The ragman cometh!

Time capsules

I love these vintage "back alley" urban street scenes The little details. What's cool is that these back alleys pretty much retain all the architectural details ( windows, gutters, cast iron, masonry) even to this day. If you wander down any old urban area alley-ways it's as if going back in time.

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