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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Stacked: 1925

Stacked: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "Rear view of Potomac Electric Power Co. Benning plant." 8x10 safety negative by Theodor Horydczak. View full size.

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Smokestack symbols

Does anybody know what the diamond and triangle symbols on top of the smokestacks mean?

The little engine that could

I spy in the alleyway an electric engine. At first I thought it might have been a GE that also made them for mines, but they didn't match the photo I have on hand to compare. I'm not sure what it is. But more intriguing is the tracks running down the street, which I assumed were for freight. The line has a trolley wire above it, most likely for the engine that is parked. Those used trolley poles.
Mainly, I assume that the power plant powered its own facilities, which includes the switcher. I really like how self-containment used to be done. I image less complaining about far away 3rd party suppliers, independent contractors, and lobbying government for various whatevers. But I can rant (ramble?) for days.


This plant was demolished just a few months ago. During the process riders on the METRO could monitor developments as excavators munched through steel and concrete. At one point huge stators and rotors with their hundreds of pounds of copper could be seen dumped in the mud.

Color rendering

What a great B&W image! That sky looks like it was shot with a red filter, on ortho film.

SHORPY OLD 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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