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Old Hat: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "814-816 Ninth Street N.W." Moldy negative of a decrepit storefront, with many musty details. National Photo Co. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "814-816 Ninth Street N.W." Moldy negative of a decrepit storefront, with many musty details. National Photo Co. View full size.


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A Leopard

It seems strange that there is a leopard skin in the Indian window.

One item that Indian made that does not appear to be on display is a canoe and trailer that can be used with a motorcycle.

F.L. Leishear, Indian Motorcycles

That's F.L. Leishear's motorcycle shop to the left, also seen in Shorpy post Wireless Apparatus: 1919. The previously open D. Neufeld Hat Manufacturer has since closed and lost its most prominent signage.

Washington Post, Jun 23, 1921


PRICES reduced 20% on new 1921 Indian motorcycles and side cars; also used machines at exceptional prices. F.L. Leishear, 812 9th st. nw.

Now a Parking Lot

No, not the U.S. Mint headquarters; that's on the east side of Ninth Street, the odd-numbered side. Where 814-816 Ninth Street was is now a vast parking lot, where the old new Convention Center used to be, till it was mercifully torn down. Even a parking lot is preferable to that awful building. If the Hoover FBI building and the OPM building at 20th and E could go the way of the old new Convention Center, even if they became nothing but parking lots, Washington would be a better place.

Too dark to see in the daytime

What's with the kerosene lantern on the sidewalk?

Motocycles and motorcycles

The corporate name was always "Indian Motocycle Company" but it made motorcycles and advertised them as such. Well the nearly new 1946 Chief I owned was called a motorcycle, but company name was still "Motocycle." Dang, I sold the thing for $75 in 1958 to a guy who had never ridden one. I had to drive the bike into his pickup truck and he said he was going to unload it in a 40 acre pasture and learn to ride. He figured there weren't many things to hit in a pasture except for the cow patties.

The Lady of the Lamp

The sign in the window to the right is a play by Earl Carroll, closed November 1920. The sign states Dec. 6. Seems it never made it to that date.

[December 6 is the performance date in Washington. The Broadway Database dates are for performances on Broadway, in New York. - Dave]


Top window, second floor! Or maybe it's some sort of Rube Goldberg drainage system.

Lady of the Lamp

Looks like she left it on the sidewalk in front of the Indian dealership. Also looks like the rear of the hat store has collapsed.

New Hat

It's all gone now, replaced by the U.S. Mint Headquarters.

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Elementary Particles

Not sure, but that curved white line with the little black teardrop at the top ... I think it's the Higgs Boson!

Washington Redskins

While the out of business hat store has its decrepit charm the store to the left has much more to offer. Indian brand motorcycles, bicycles and tricycles are all on display. What a treasure trove. Also,the reflection in the hat store window shows cars in the street and what looks like someones legs on a ladder or scaffold rung. I wonder if it is somebody in the store working or perhaps the reflection of the photographer in the street getting a raised perspective. The Gold Medal Flour sign up above states "Why Not Now?" No time like the present indeed.

They came and went.

BEAUTIFUL Indian in the window next door.
One please, to go !

"Silent" Olson

The poster above the For Rent sign is for a wrestling match between Joe Turner and Silent Olson, a deaf-mute.

"Christmas night he beat Joe Turner, for ten years champion middleweight wrestler."

The Indian Motocycle shop

I find the partial view of the Indian Motocycle shop more interesting than the almost-derelict storefront that's the subject of the photo. Here's a photo of a 1920 Indian Motocycle; the "Indian" name and the fuel tank (I assume) it's on look the same as in the window of that shop.


I just learned that the folks at Indian didn't know how to spell "motorcycle."

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