This postcard shows the view as seen through one of the windows of the Treasury Department building along 15th Street NW, perhaps around 1910 to 1915. The back of the card states: "F Street from 15th, can be seen running east with the famous Café Republique on the corner. The New Willard and New Ebbitt Hotels are on the same street [the two large white buildings in the middle distance along the right hand side of the street], and below is Washington's Bon Ton Shopping District."
The large red building on the right hand side housing the Café Republique is the Corcoran office building, built in 1875. The building became the art center of Washington in the 1880s, with many prominent artists keeping their studios there. It was replaced in 1917 by the Hotel Washington.
Directly opposite the Ebbitt Hotel on the left side, with flag flying, is the Westory Building on the northeast corner of 14th and F Streets. It was completed in 1907 and still stands—at least its outer walls do.
—Is it just me, or has anyone else ever heard of "Washington's Bon Ton Shopping District"?
Here’s the same scene today, from street level. Almost none of the old buildings remain. The Hotel Washington (now “W” Hotel) is on the immediate right. The 1986 expansion of the Willard Hotel has taken up the middle part of the block behind it. The National Press Club building is in the block behind it, on the site occupied by the Ebbitt Hotel in the postcard. On the right side, the Metropolitan Square office development has replaced Rhodes Tavern, which is cut off from view in the postcard. And, of course, there’s no more Bon Ton Shopping District in the distance.
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