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Radio School: 1920

Radio School: 1920

Washington, D.C., 1920. "National Radio School, Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Below is the identical view taken in April of 2010. One can still get Chinese food by walking through the doors facing Pennsylvania Avenue, but it's a bit longer walk - the food court in the Metro Shops complex on F Street (the next street north) is accessible through this frontage.

Kronheim went into the liquor business

The Milton S. Kronheim Company was a wine and spirits distributor in D.C. until going out of business in the late 1990s.

Perhaps the clothing business is what they did during Prohibition, or else once Repeal came in 1933, they decided to go into the alcohol beverage business.

Learn Wireless

Canton Pagoda, 1343 E St.
D. Loughran, 1347 Pa. Ave.
Oriental Restaurant. 1347 Pa. Ave.


Washington Post Man

Newspapers have more than just writers and editors. Plus, note that the window says "The Washington Post Business Office."

Hence the man you can see in the window may be working in the circulation or advertising department, typing out bills, correcting invoices, or calculating how many papers are needed for that night's run based on subscription and street sales demand.

National Radio Institute?

I believe the National Radio School eventually become the National Radio Institute, who trained thousands of radio and television repairmen by correspondence until the 1990's.

Horse Apples!

Need I say more?

Radio Repair

I think a lot of the classes focused on how a radio worked and how to repair them. In one of the antique radio repair books I read, the author recalled his father's studies in one of these schools. He later went on to become a radio operator on board a ship for a while. If I remember right, the book was Fixing Up Nice Old Radios.

[I think the focus was basically "getting into radio" from a technical and procedural standpoint, as Plus ca Change noted below. It was like the Web 15 years ago -- an emerging medium that was the Next Big Thing, and people wanted a foot in the door. This was just before the emergence of commercial radio as a mass entertainment medium, back when audio broadcasts were something geeky baseball fans listened to on headphone crystal sets, and the airwaves were thought of more in terms of wireless telegraphy and telephony, as a means of point-to-point communication, with an emphasis on maritime and military uses. - Dave]

City of Chinese Restaurants

One little known fact about 1920s Washington is that every other building back then housed a Chinese restaurant.

Re: Look, up there!

Why, it's Barney and Gomer making sure the streets are safe from organized crime!

All gone

This row--even though some establishments sport Pennsylvania Avenue addresses--is actually on E Street, just east of 14th. The large building on the far left is the Willard Hotel. All the buildings here have been replaced a couple of times--currently the J.W. Marriott Hotel dominates this end of the block. Shorpy previously brought us a scene of a large crowd gathered to watch results from the big game at this same location in 1912.

[Before Pershing Park was built out in the 1930s, this block (lower right in the Baist map) was fronted by Pennsylvania Avenue. E Street is just to the right. - Dave]

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The guys on the roof

Pretty sure these hats belong to Stan and Oliver.

Look, up there!

Who are the two men in hats on the roof of the Radio School building and what are they doing?

Some nice details...

- The guy cleaning windows on the 7th floor of the building on the far left. In all the Shorpy cityscapes I've looked at this is the first window cleaner.

- Two guys in hats peeping over the roof parapet of the Radio School.

- A man working in the Washington Post who is enjoying an open window. Looks like an editor from one of the 1930s newspaper films. The window he is sitting at has some nice architectural details and an unusual angled design.

- The Washington Post appears to share premises with the Cincinnati Enquirer.

- Nice devilish gargoyle and tessellations at the top of the Post building. Does it still exist?

- The parked car on the far left seems to have the letters CHEW on the trunk. I wonder what that meant.

["Don't Stay Behind -- CHEW Peper (something) Leaf." Tobacco salesman's car at the cigar store. - Dave]

Thanks, Shorpy for 15 minutes of interesting observation of another world.

You Street?

I know that I Street in Washington is sometimes called "Eye Street," is "You Street" for U Street another common usage? Never heard of it before.

Plus ca change

So back then people paid to take "radio" classes like today they pay to take "computer" classes?

Doubling up

Two Chinese restaurants in one block! One of them a walkup. And either two cigar stores, or one cigar store and a distributor.

Republic of Chop Suey

Can anyone make out the flag flying under Old Glory on top of the Chinese & American restaurant?

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