|The Centennial Building circa 1905.|
Welcome. New articles are generally posted to this blog about every two to three weeks. Please feel free to browse past articles through the Blog Archive below on the right. A good way to follow this blog is to subscribe, either by email or RSS feed, so that you receive new articles as messages when they go up. Many of the illustrations are from original postcards or from photographs that I took, and they can also be found here. Finally, feel free to send comments or suggestions to StreetsofWashington@gmail.com. Copyright © 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
Friday, July 30, 2010
Many Washingtonians remember the Woodward & Lothrop department store, which used to be downtown at 11th and F Streets, N.W. However, much less well-known is its old rival, the Palais Royal, which was once located in the block immediately to the north, at 11th and G.
The Palais Royal got started in 1877 on the northeast corner of 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, in Alexander Shepherd's Second-Empire style Centennial Building, which had formerly been home to the Pension Bureau and would later become the Raleigh Hotel. The firm began as a dry goods store specializing in "fancy" items, such as fans, gloves, jewelry, and handkerchiefs. It was founded by Abram Lisner (1855-1938), a short, wiry German immigrant who came to this country with his family at the age of 13. Plagued by epilepsy, Lisner was tutored privately as a child in New York and then went to work in his brother George's dry goods store on Broadway. It was with George's help that Abram expanded the business to Washington, opening up the Palais Royal and then buying out his brother's share in it two years later.
at 10:15 AM
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
|Source: Moore, Picturesque Washington (1887)|
The bushy, thriving trees along H Street—a phenomenon now virtually inconceivable—make this 1886 etching of H and 8th Streets NW seem extraordinarily bucolic. Now on the edge of DC’s small Chinatown, this area was largely residential in 1886. There was no such thing as Chinatown. The trees in the etching obscure the row houses that line the street on either side, so that only the playful children and the church with its stately spire are clearly visible. One hundred and twenty-four years later, the only things that appear unchanged are the street itself and the stately church.
at 6:38 PM
Sunday, July 11, 2010
The stretch of New York Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets NW is a wonderfully open urban space—a broad, divided east-west avenue with a triangle of parkland and busy north-south streets on either side. The spot could make for a handy transportation hub, and that is just what it did for almost half a century, hosting the Greyhound Bus Lines Super Terminal on the south side of the avenue. Thanks to the valiant efforts of the D.C. Preservation League, the Art Deco Society of Washington and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, the former terminal, completed in 1940, survives today nearly intact as the entrance pavilion to a modern office building at 1100 New York Avenue.
at 2:26 PM