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Ghost Crossing: 1915

Ghost Crossing: 1915

Washington, D.C., circa 1915. "Bond Building, Washington Herald." Watch out for the ectoplasmic pedestrians. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.


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I drive by this building every day to work. Although the outside is as beautiful as it was when it was new, the inside is everyday nondescript basic offices occupied by employees of the Department of Justice. Below is the identical view taken in April of 2010.

With mayo

The ground floor tenant at the corner is now a Potbelly's.


I love the time transition between the horse and buggy and motor vehicle, somewhat like the one between the steam locomotive and the diesel powered locomotive.

Then there's this ...

Some believe that Mr. Bond might be haunting the Saugas, Massachusetts Town Hall.

Lost Drama

This is a good example of why modern and post-modern architecture is so unappreciated or understood. Despite the efficiencies available today, the charm and detailing that set these wonderful old buildings apart is lacking. Many consider the majority of modern buildings to be sterile and inhuman. Sometimes I tend to agree with them.

Charles H. Bond

Office Building Planned

Handsome Structure to be Erected at
Fourteenth Street and New York Avenue

The erection of a large and modern office building will soon begin at the southwest corner of Fourteenth street and New York avenue. The ground here, with the exception of the corner lot, is unimproved. It is said that the enterprise contemplated will involve the expenditure, including the value of the land, of more than $300,000. The plan is to be carried out by Mr. Charles H. Bond, of Boston and Messrs. H. Bradley Davidson and John C. Davidson, of this city, the owners of the property. They are having plans prepared for the new building by Mr. George W. Cooper, architect. The structure will be seven stories in height, it is stated.

Washington Post, March 22, 1900

C.H. Bond Known Here

Man Who Died Strangely the Owner of Local Property

Cigar Manufacturer Often Visited This City - Singers, Among Them Geraldine Farrar, May Pendergrast, and Ada Chambers, Owe Vocal Training to Him - Generous in Many Ways.

Charles H. Bond, multimillionaire, philanthropist, and cigar manufacturer, of Boston, whose death occurred Friday afternoon at his home, Peace Haven, Swampscott, Mass., under mysterious circumstances, was a large property owner in Washington.

Although Mr. Bond never made Washington his home, he visited here several times each year and became the owner of several valuable pieces of real estate. With H. Bradley Davidson as a partner, he built the large office building at New York avenue and Fourteenth street which bears his name. Mr. Davidson afterward sold his share and Mr. Bond became sole owner. Mr. Bond also owned the piece of property at the northwest corner of Tenth and F streets northwest, where Rich's shoe store is located.

Mr. Bond was twice married. His first wife was Martha Morrison and his second wife Belle Bacon, formerly prominent in Washington society. Miss Bacon's father was at one time a clerk in the civil service commission. Immediately following the second marriage, Mr. Bond bought a house at 1708 Nineteenth street northwest, which became the home of his wife's parents.
Among the summer colonists at Swampscott Mr. Bond was known as the "Macaenas of the North Shore." Through his aid several young women attained fame as singers, for whenever a voice interested him and the owner could not afford to cultivate it he paid her expenses for training in this country and abroad. Among those were Geraldine Farrar, May Pendergast, and Ada Chambers, of New York. He allowed them $100 a month for their living expenses and gave them a thorough training by the best European Masters.
Geraldine Farrar was at first brought to Washington by the multimillionaire cigar manufacturer to have her voice trained. She was afterward sent to Europe for schooling. Miss Farrar made her debut in Washington at a concert given at what was then known as the Lafayette Theater. After becoming successful on the stage, Miss Farrar is said to have paid back to Mr. Bond the money which he spent in having her voice trained.

Recently Mr. Bond mortgaged his Washington property for about $350,000 and invested the money in the Lyric Theater in Boston.

Mr. Bond was found dead Friday afternoon in a half filled bath tub in his bathroom connecting with his bedroom. In the bedroom was found this note:

"I have been killed by my friends and enemies It is more than I can bear. I can stand it no longer. My heart is broken. I leave everything to my wife. - CHARLES H. BOND"

Washington Post, July 7, 1908

P.S. In response to Anonymous Odie: Boss & Phelps were realtors who, among other interests, dealt a great deal with Chevy Chase properties.

Ne'er do well

I'm fascinated by the character slouching against the light post on the right side of the building. He seems to have the classic "ne'er do well" pose.

Chevy Chase Bank

Is that a Chevy Chase Bank Branch on 14th Street? Wowzers! they were everywhere even back then!

Checkerboard Plates

Those "checkerboard" plates, so regularly spaced around the intersections of track, provided access to the underground conduit for the middle or "third rail," which provided power to the streetcars. The conduit configuration required the trolleys to have a "plow," which sent the juice from the conduit source up to the streetcar motor. Unfortunately, the middle groove tended to collect sediment over time, which could disengage the plow and render the streetcar immobile until a track worker reconnected the whole contraption. Doing this required a shutdown of power for the segment of track in question. Access to the circuit was through the checkerboard plates. You can still see a few of these in the streets; at least one is next to the Peace Monument immediately outside the west face of the the U.S. Capitol.

Going up?

Wow - at first glance, the building looks pretty much the same in the photo and the google maps image, but there's actually a whole floor or two built up now on top of the original.

Interesting, too, that there are now trees in the streetscape. Not sure what that says about urban living and our evolving relationship with nature...

A moment in time

Add the streetcar tracks to the horse and buggy and early cars and we've got a crossroads in time as well as space.


What a fantastically smokey picture. The first thing I noticed was the strange "tiling" in between the tracks. Anyone know what they are? This is a Desktop background for sure!

Ghost legs

Wow. What a spectacular photo. I have a question about the series of ghost legs crossing the street on the left side of the photo. Is that one person running or a number of people walking?

[I think it's probably one person. There's another set of legs on the corner, and a third set crossing on the right. - Dave]

New York Avenue & 14th Street NW

Bye bye buggy.

The photo makes kind of a sad comment on the numbered days of the horse and buggy, completely outnumbered as it is by the horseless versions.

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