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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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Wakefield Hall: 1926

Wakefield Hall: 1926

1926. "W.H. West Co., Wakefield." Wakefield Hall was "an imposing new apartment edifice" put up by W.H. West Co. at 15th and V streets N.W. in Washington. Rents: $60 to $160 a month. National Photo Co. View full size.

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We regularly see ghost people, but I think that this is the first time I recall seeing a ghost truck in a Shorpy photo.

[That's a person crossing the street from the corner on the right. His hat is in front of the delivery van. - Dave]

Still there and still a rental

Though now, instead of sky-high rents, it's a rent controlled building. The church in the background is still there, too, but the steeples are gone.

Not So Sky-High Actually

Rent at $60 would just top a bit over $700 today, which for an urban location, no matter what city, is actually a bargain. There may have been a number of choices in the gap to $160 also, and many people today would jump at the chance to have that low a rent! Murphy beds and fold-in ironing board as well as dumbwaiter garbage collection and a doorman were in fashion & high regard and the smart set would be flabbergasted with these digs.

It rains only on one block of the street?

Why is only part of the street wet, and none of the sidewalk? Clearly it isn't from rain, but what would it be from?

[Street cleaning. - Dave]

Sky-high Rents

$60 to $160 a month was hugely expensive in 1926. The tenants must have been very well off to afford it. In most cities and towns in the 1920s and 30s one could rent a nice two-bedroom house with a yard and a garage for $20 to $30 a month, and frequently less. In the mid-1930s, my dad paid $15 a month for a comfortable house in Casper, Wyoming (not Washington, for sure, but fairly crowded with oilfield crews and railroad workers). He could easily afford it because he was making $75 a month as a telephone lineman.

Still there...

...and looking much the same, although the street scene has changed a lot over the past 83 years.

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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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