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Park View Christian: 1920

Park View Christian: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Park View Christian Church, 627 Park Road N.W." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Scurlock Collection

This past weekend I viewed the exhibition of Scurlock photographs at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. I highly recommend it to all Shorpy fans in the D.C. area.

Much like the National Photo archives, featured at this website, the Scurlock Studio photos capture a fascinating view of early 20th century history of the District of Columbia. In contrast to Herbert French (National Photo), the Scurlock studios were primarily patronized by the African-American population of the district. Viewing the exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History felt very much akin to browsing the Shorpy website: the photos are of similar era and there is even a place for viewer comments.

Unlike the Herbert French (National Photo) negatives, which were donated to the Library of Congress, the Scurlock negatives were donated directly to the Smithsonian. The images can be browsed/searched here.

One image which overlaps with Shorpy content is the Park View Christian (A.M.E. Zion) Church, photographed by the Scurlock studios in March, 1954.

The Sign

The sign with the removable letters looks utterly modern. I wonder what they made the letters out of--not plastic, I presume.

[My guess would be a plastic like pyralin ivory. - Dave]


Seems to be a common thing with the buildings on Shorpy, to lose their ornaments. Steeples, spires, domes, etc., are often missing if the buildings are still standing today.

Re: Google Moment

It looks like the stained glass windows are the original except that the two on the right are interchanged.

Manhole cover

You can zoom the Google shot pretty tightly onto the manhole cover. Alas, it appears to be a different, but very similar, cover. The old cover appears to be completely "waffled" on the surface. The 2009 cover appears to have a flat strip in the center with something written in it. Also, the concrete around the cover in the 1920 photo is 2 piece. The 2009 photo is a single piece. Sometime in the last 90 years the storm drain has been worked on.

View Larger Map

Stained Glass

Just looking at the Google Street View of the church today. It appears as though that the two windows on the right have been flip-flopped since 1920. Also, the house on the left is the church parking lot now.

Google moment

Indeed, stanton_square, the Google Streetviewbot happened to snap that one off at a particularly serendipitous moment. I kind of miss the little mini-steeples. Dare we hope that's the very same manhole cover?

New Commandment Baptist

Today, this building houses the New Commandment Baptist Church, which bought the property in 1995 for $600,000.

See current photo at bottom of page:

Best Street View

That IS the best Google street view, and like I always look for: there are people! And they're doing stuff! Not to start a discussion on current day photos, but I think church was letting out when the Google car drove by.

I hope nerds like us get to see these street views 100 years from now and discuss what everybody was up to in those frozen moments.

"Modern Classic"

New $30,000 Church

Whitney Avenue Christian Also to
Become Park View in Name.

Whitney Avenue Christian Church, on of the oldest landmarks of Park View, is to be replaced in the near future by a modern classic structure costing $30,000 and renamed the Park View Christian Church. This old house of worship was erected in 1877, and the annex in the rear where the Sunday school was held, has always been open for public gatherings.

It is the intention to place a handsome pipe organ costing $1,800 in the new edifice. The structure is expected to be completed in April.

Washington Post, Jan 4, 1920

Park View Rites to Honor Dr. Smith

Services memorializing the late Dr. Walter F. Smith, for more than 33 years pastor of Park View Christian Church, will be held there tomorrow at 8 p.m., with the Rev. J. Lloyd Black, present pastor, presiding.

Washington Post, Mar 30, 1940

Area Church Building Boom Continues to Make the News

Members of Park View Christian Church, formerly of 627 Park rd, nw., tomorrow at 11 a.m. will enter the first unit of their $200,000 building at 12th st. and Eastern ave. nw., a block west of Georgia ave. The first unit cost $90,000, and will consist of departmental rooms, auditorium, kitchen and dining room, oil-burning furnace, Hammond organ and other features. Since the sale of the old building, members have worshipped in the assembly room of Jessup Blair Park. The Rev. George M. Anderson is pastor.

[Other article reports sale of building to Baltimore A.M.E. Zion Church]

Washington Post, Sep 13, 1947

This congregation is now the Shepard Park Christian Church.

P.S. My ongoing project to build mashup of D.C. area Shorpy photos and Google Maps has exceeded what can reasonably fit on a single map. Thus, I am in the process of breaking it into several themes (currently Architecture, Transport, and Other). The Architecture version is here.

P.P.S. I think this is my favorite location from Google Streetview on Shorpy so far.

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