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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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American Gothic: 1923

American Gothic: 1923

Washington, D.C., circa 1923. "Sherman house, 300 block Third Street N.W." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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Bigger Than a Bread Box

The Bond Bread box in the lower left corner harks back to the day when bread companies made early morning dropoffs, and to the surprise of no one the bread was still there when the shop owner opened the store.

Bond bread was my choice as a child since it came with trading cards and I didn't have to spend any part of my 25 cent allowance to buy bubble gum cards and yes mom gave away the cards and my comic books while I was off in the Navy.

I still remember the day when I got a Ted Williams card and a few years later when I got to see him play after the St Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and the Red Sox came to town. Fortunately my allowance had been raised to 50 cents by then so I could afford a left field bleacher seat to watch my hero.

Tipton House?

The LOC information associated with this photo has led me absolutely nowhere. Additionally, looking at the old Baist realty maps indicates that there is no place on the 300 block of Third street which conforms to this house and alley.

The most compelling nearby match I can find from looking at old maps, and it's purely speculative, is that the address is 218 Third street NW. The building was known as the Old Tipton House. It later saw service as the D.C. branch of the Florence Crittenton Mission. Around the time of this photo, it was converted for use by the Women's Auxiliary of the American Foreign Legion as a home for veterans.

Too bad we can't see any house numbers, or more of the corner market - that could provide more clues.

Next door

I saw some great examples of this style in Providence, RI, recently, but I am partial to the austere balance and symmetry of its neighbor: purely lovely, in spite of it being built for multiple dwellings. Give me more, Dave!

'Tis the Season

It's partly the photo and partly the season - Happy Twelfth Night, everyone! - and the Sherman house instantly recalled to me the classic Charles Addams cartoon from the New Yorker issue of 21 December 1946.

Alley View

In the alleyway there are two closely spaced windows that open from the top out. This is usually indicative of a standing stall for horses, though the rest of the building does not appear to be a stable.

Long gone

According to google maps, the area is now occupied by the Department of Labor and other office buildings. The whole area appears redeveloped.

Fifth-floor walkup

Isn't that Rhoda's apartment in the attic?

Beauty before Function

I gasped with delight when I first saw this. It was a time when architecture was meant to be more than protection from the weather. Even the screened porches have decorative sunburst corners. The neighborhood then was obviously run down and we can be pretty certain this didn't last, but thank you to whoever brought us another picture of the past lest we forget. I wish to add that we used to take drives through D.C. just for the architecture but now one must go hunting to see anything interesting.

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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