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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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Hardware: 1918

Hardware: 1918

"J.F. Campbell, Anacostia, decorated with American flags." Circa 1918, another patriotically attired hardware store in Washington's Anacostia neighborhood. Check out the Mad Hatter. National Photo glass negative. View full size.

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Oooga horns

Notice the "ooga" horn on the truck next to the driver's seat; there is also one just like it in sitting the store display window. I believe these are hand-operated by pulling the T-shaped lever on top. Later models as used in the Ford Model A contained an electric motor to spin the noisemaker. In those days, there were many after-market mods available and Campbell's may have well sold these horns.


Turnbuckle stars! Turnbuckle stars! Gotta love them turnbuckle stars!


I can't get over the beautiful bunting work. The top row looks like stylized eagles. Somebody put a lot of money and effort into decorating this relatively humble establishment.

Anacostia Hardware

Piecing together a few threads from the Washington Post archive, I think this store was located at 1215 Good Hope Rd. John T. Campbell, owner of a Capitol Hill hardware store, purchased this business from Gray & Son in 1892. John T. died in 1913, apparently passing his business interests to his three sons: J. Frank, Charles A., and John T. Jr. (Jack). More humble children might have renamed the business along the lines of "J.T. Campbell & Sons," but J. Frank was more ambitious than that.

Frank moved the hardware store to 1300 Good Hope Rd in 1927. J. Frank Campbell went on to become the president of Anacostia Bank, dying at the age of 72 in 1943. The store passed on to his son F. Tracy Campbell, who continued to operate it until 1966. The store remained in business under the name "J. Frank Hardware" until at least the 1980s.

Now, what is really amazing to me is that the original store building is still there, albeit greatly altered. It's now home to the Anacostia Young People Club. The facade has been completely redone but the brick wall along the alley remains. What is most recognizable are the cast iron stars used as anchors for the wrought iron tie rods (straps) through the building. Amazing!

UPDATES: Turnbuckle stars! I figured there was a special name for these doo-hickeys but couldn't come up with it by google search: yet another example of the great depth of knowledge of Shorpy readers.

In regards to the comment on brickwork and the seam with the adjacent building: The Baist Realty Map snippet for Mushake's hardware store also shows this property: the adjacent building appears to be a wooden structure with a brick facade applied to the front.

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Silver handled contraptions

I'd guess that they're pumps on top of 25 gallon barrels of paraffin - kerosene. I seem to remember something similar in hardware shops on this side of the water many years ago.

Paint With Lead!

"Lewis White Lead" paint sold here! They even had their own Dutch Boy look-alike mascot. Brickwise, the side wall is done in Common Bond and the front is Stretcher bond. I'm curious about those silver handled contraptions inside the doorway. They look to me like the sort of meat grinders that my grandparents had around their house, although its possible that they're coffee grinders - or one-armed bandits. If they were gambling machines (and, of course, they weren't) it would go a long way in explaining why all those fellas were hanging around there and not at their jobs.

Arms and the man

The guy with three arms is what got my attention.

The Back Yard

The sign at the left, as edited by the telephone pole, is selling an interesting variety of seed. The rapid growth of that particular species is one that most of us women prefer to inhibit.

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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