SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Potomac Park: 1908

Potomac Park: 1908

Washington, D.C., circa 1908. "The Boulevard, Potomac Park." The Washington Monument flanked by the Tidal Basin and Old Post Office. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

6,665⅛ inches

When finished, the monument topped out at 555 feet 5⅛ inches. At the time it was the tallest building in the world. It is now nearly a foot shorter than that. One of the myths in Washington is that there is a law that no building in the city can be taller than the Washington Monument. There is a height restriction law, but it has nothing to do with the monument. Another myth, which I've spent 25 years telling tourists while working at the U.S. Capitol, is that the color change in the monument was caused by the "great flood of 1856."

And just south of the monument

under a manhole cover, is a 12 foot high version of it, used as a survey marker.

Times have surely changed

The old Post Office, now a Trump hotel.

Two-toned tower

If you look at the enlarged picture of the Washington Monument, you can see the point at which construction stopped and resumed about a third of the way up. Construction of the monument began in 1848, and was halted from 1854 to 1877 due to a lack of funds, a struggle for control over the Washington National Monument Society, and the intervention of the American Civil War.

When construction resumed, they could no longer get stone from the original quarry and that's why there is a slight difference in color between the two sections. When the monument was capped, they used a very rare and expensive metal for the time: aluminum. As this incredible picture I saved from this very website clearly shows:

Is it true

the monument is 555 feet 5.5 inches tall?

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.