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Drive-By Banking: 1924

Drive-By Banking: 1924

Washington, D.C., circa 1924. "District National Bank, Dupont branch." This photo was used to make the line drawing that illustrates the bank ad seen in the comments below. National Photo Co. Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Shepherd's Row

The building in the photo is none other than the mansion of "Boss" Alexander Shepherd, who was Governor of the territory of the District of Columbia from 1873 to 1874. The mansion was one of three attached grand beaux-arts houses (dubbed "Shepherd's Row") built in 1873 and designed by famed Washington architect Adolph Cluss, who lived in the middle house. Boss Shepherd, though removed by Congress in 1874 for corruption, was instrumental in making massive public works improvements to Washington in the 1870s, including paving roads, laying sewers and water mains, and planting thousands of trees. His mansion was the social hub of Washington in its day, with lavish Gilded Age parties for presidents -- beginning with President Grant -- and other dignitaries. Beginning around the time of World War I, buildings such as these along K Street began to be converted for commercial use. Shepherd's Row became more and more run down and was finally replaced in 1952 by the modernist office building that stands there today, designed by Edwin Weihe.

Bottom Dollar

This reminds me of the old joke about the guy whose office was directly over a bank vault and on his office window was a sign "Joe Shmoe, Real Estate, Assets Over 5 Million Dollars."

Somebody's watching me

The entire second, third, and fourth floor floors may be for rent, complete with electric elevator and ballroom, according to the sign on the left. But there is already somebody up there. Check out the man who is checking out the photographer.

Capital? Surplus?

The two notes painted on the right side window seem to be the pre-crash version of the nondescript FDIC notice that we rely on today -- capital and surplus out there for all to see. If this had still been the practice in 2008, you'd have seen every branch manager out there with a razor blade, busily scraping away. Reminds me of when McDonald's stopped changing the numbers on the sign to a boring "Billions Served."

Nice rides

The front vehicle is a circa 1922 Lincoln Coupe. Note the accessory front bumper, and initials painted on the door. It appears to have a footman from the bank to greet customers. The other car is a 1922 Locomobile, an equally expensive vehicle in its day.

"Drive Your Car to the Door"

This branch of District National opened for business June 17, 1924. Located on the northeast corner of Connecticut and K streets, it fronted on Farragut Square, not Dupont Circle.


John F. Maury, realtor - RIP

The upper floors of the building are being offered for sale by John F. Maury. Fourteen years after this picture was taken he was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in his garage.

Washington Evening Star, June 7, 1938

John F. Maury Found Dead
Of Monoxide in His Garage.

Rescue Squad's Effort to Revive Realtor Is Futile

John F. Maury, 52, prominent Washington realtor, was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning this morning in the garage at his home, 37 West Lenox street, Chevy Chase, Md.

Police said the motors of two automobiles in the enclosure had been running and reported that Mr. Maury's body was found on the rear seat of one of the machines.

Members of the Chevy Chase fire rescue squad were called and administered oxygen for 45 minutes in a futile effort to revive Mr. Maury, who was president of the firm of Maury & Mohler.

Carroll V. Jones, Montgomery County policeman, said Mr. Maury's death was discovered when the maid, Viola A. Turner, colored, looked out the kitchen window while preparing breakfast and saw smoke curling beneath the garage door.

She went upstairs to call Mr. Maury but when he could not be found she went to the garage, threw open the door and discovered her employer in one of the machines.

Dr. William Sims of 1611 Twenty-first street N.W. and Dr. Karl C. Corley of 105 Grafton street, Chevy Chase, Md., were summoned, and the former issued a certificate of "death due to carbon monoxide poisoning."

Policeman Jones said he was informed by the maid that Mr. Maury arose about 5 o'clock this morning and told his wife, Mrs. Edna McKahan Maury, that he "wasn't sleeping well" and was going downstairs "to read the newspapers."

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