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Tom's Lunch: 1930

Tom's Lunch: 1930

Washington, D.C., circa 1930. "Store front, 9th Street N.W." Hey lady, it's safe to come out. National Photo Company Collection safety negative. View full size.


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Below is the same view from December of 2011.

Former tenant

I lived in this building (1314½ Ninth Street) in the early 1990s, on the second floor. Lisa Fricano was my landlord and I my good friend Joe lived on the top floor.

It was a cool place to live. I had a studio/photo darkroom set up in the living room area. Joe had his painting studio in his LR. We had some really good times there. Lisa ran a video store called Ratso Video. There was also a rock band that practiced in the basement.

I pass by this place from time to time and always wonder who's living there, what's going to happen in the retail area, etc. I would love to buy this vintage 30s photo.

Let me know if you selling.



[Click under the picture where it says BUY THIS PHOTO. - Dave]

Look in Any Window Yeah

In the front window, there are signs for Camel cigarettes. There is also a public telephone available inside. Plus, according to the signs in the front window, Tom's place sells Coca Cola! Looking through the front window, this is where Silver Dust is sold. Check the name on the box seen through the lefthand side of the front window. Silver Dust was a laundry detergent. Their logo of a woman bending over a laundry tub can be seen on the top corner of the lefthand side of the Silver Dust display box. The woman in the doorway just brought Silver Dust soap to clean that somewhat dirty-looking fur she's wearing. And oh yes -- there are four buckets not three (one more is behind the third bucket back in the picture).

RE: What's with the buckets

Beer buckets, left outside for cooling purposes?

What's with the buckets?

What's with the buckets hanging out the upstairs windows?

A Makeover!

This building is getting a nice redo.

The new owner is apparently very sensitive to the historical nature of the building, although the carriage house in the back had to be torn down. The property was in pretty deplorable condition.

Cleaning up

This building is being cleaned up. The old copper is still intact and has been cleaned to reveal its former beauty. The windows which were boarded up have been replaced with new glass and there are plans (I hear) to create retail space on the lower level. I totally agree with the idea of old signage. There are many old buildings in Washington where there are remnants of signs still left than can be restored. Documenting and renewing these signs would be a great grant project for someone.

Love the web site. Great work. Keep it up. We are all very appreciative!

Gas Price

There is a good reason the store lady is not coming out. She is peering into our time through our computers, like we are peering into hers.

The BP gas station across the street, as captured by Google Maps' photo van, has regular gas at $4.19 per gallon. Just stay where you are, ma'am. It's scary here.


This looks like a short story or an Edward Hopper painting. There's enough going on in this picture to serve as the foundation for any number of creative works. Great job (as always), Dave!

Nominated for "Least Changed"

Remarkably unchanged! Even the iron fence railing on the left is still there! The painted advert on the brick wall is the same degree of faded! If we had a Hudson, a '31 Ford and a couple of Model Ts for good measure, we could recreate this photo!


The car in front of the diner is a 1931 Hudson Great 8 sedan, the top of the line for Hudson. Check out the horn on the crossbars below the headlights! and the dual sidemounts, hood vent doors, and smaller front visor that Hudson used to look more modern.

The 1931 Ford behind it on the right is interesting in that it has an accessory winter front and an accessory horn to replace the near obsolete ahoogha horn. The "Greyhound" accessory hood ornament -- very chic.

Fur coat?

That woman's wearing a fur coat, isn't she? I guess she wasn't hurting for money.


It looks like the sign in the Google Street View was repainted at some point because it's brighter than the one in the original, which surely would have faded more by now. Sometimes people like to repaint those things, give the place character?


Great old places like that are getting harder to find, aren't they? Everything is Starbucks or the pretentious upscale places.

Blue Eagle

There is an NRA (National Recovery Administration, not National Rifle Association) poster in the window of the business three doors down, so this would have to have been 1933 or later.

[1926 ... 1930 ... 1933 ... We are zooming into the future! - Dave]

Ghosts of groceries past

Did anyone else notice the faded advertisements on the side of the building in the Google Street View and the 1930 picture? Someone should clean up this joint.

Phantom sign

Color me astonished that the phantom "GROCERIES & PROVISIONS" sign on the side of the building has remained virtually unchanged over the past 80 years.

Shoulda had the meatloaf

I'm always on the lookout for these dives when I'm traveling on business. I normally don't eat much - maybe eggs or a grilled cheese - I just enjoy sitting in the vinyl booths and reading the paper over a cup of Joe. Found one in Chicago a few weeks ago - around the corner from the Palmer House Hotel just west of Michigan Avenue.

1926? How do you figure?

I am positive the car on the far right is a 1931 Ford.
I own one that I have been driving for 12 years

[Oops. My bad. The cars are wearing 1930 license plates. - Dave]

Barely changed


Before computers and maybe even slide rulers, gifted souls were erecting towers like that that don't go to the ground, but appear suspended as if by magic from the side of a building.

Winter Front

The Ford Model A on the far right has a winter front on the radiator and what looks like a quail radiator cap.

Bucket brigade

What's with the buckets on the second floor window sills in the alley? Milk delivery system, maybe?

Tom's Deli

Oh, yum. What a lousy looking cafe. Maybe she doesn't want anyone to know that she actually ate the "home cooking" there. Please tell me that the three buckets hanging outside the second story windows are not what I suspect they are for: Garde L'eau.

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