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The Ostrich: 1901

The Ostrich: 1901

Washington, D.C., circa 1901. "View of G Street N.W., south side, between 12th & 13th, looking southwest." Where the businesses and merchants vying for our trade include Diggs & Co., dealer in Impervious Front Brick; Madame D. Dion de Paris, dyer, curler and renovator of plumes d'autruche, as well as a doer-up of lace curtains; and the Electric Parlors of Dr. Nevin B. Shade, purveyor of Eclectic Remedies ("Mostly, 25¢"). And yes, we have bananas, in addition to real estate and Fine Tailoring. 5x7 glass negative, D.C. Street Survey Collection. View full size.


A View to a Parlor

A peek into Shade's parlor housing the various implements of electrification. An hour off for supper included.

From the Thursday, March 7, 1901 edition of the Evening Times of Washington.

Vying for our trade now

Of course, none of the 1901 structures still occupy this choice piece of downtown Washington, D.C. real estate. Today's merchants are more franchise oriented. To the left is a Jimmy John's and next door to that is Dunkin' Donuts. Across the street is a block long Macy's, where I bet there is not an ostrich feather to be found.

We've been in this neighborhood before.

Sounds shocking

What is an electric parlor? The possibilities make my mind reel. Maybe some electro convulsive therapy would calm my imagination.

Ostrich feathers

I buy them every couple of months to use as cat toys. The cats destroy them in pretty short order.

Birds of a Feather

They apparently flew the coop here a few years after the photo when the then-so-modern Homer Building went up on this same space. The bad news is that pretty much everything seen here is long gone for more than a century. The good news is you can get early bird parking sitting atop Metro Center for $13 before 9 a.m.

What I see and what I don't see

I see no feathers in Mme Dion's window but I do see what looks like white ruffled wide-legged pantalettes (rather anachronistic) hanging on a clothesline, and a white long-sleeved shirtwaist with nobody in it.

Ghost ladies

How I wish the ghost ladies in that photo could sharpen themselves and tell us all about their lives after the photo was taken. Even before would be interesting!

No need to renovate your plumes d'autruche

And yes, you can buy them on Amazon too.

The Finest Electric Parlors

1902 ad from the Washington Times:

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