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
Thursday, August 30, 2012
This week's vintage postcard proudly depicts the extraordinary marble banking lobby of the National Metropolitan Bank at 613 15th Street NW, circa 1907, around the time the building was completed. The card boasts that the National Metropolitan is the "Oldest National Bank in the District of Columbia," having been organized in January 1814. The claim is a bit deceptive. The rival National Bank of Washington was actually five years older, having been established as the Bank of Washington in 1809. However the National Metropolitan Bank was reorganized in 1865 under the National Banking Act, and in 1907 it was the oldest national bank in DC. So there you have it.
at 9:03 AM
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Today's postcard view of Takoma Hall in the early 1900s looks like it could have been taken somewhere west of the Mississippi. The little town of Takoma Park, straddling the border between the District and Maryland was indeed a frontier outpost in those days, one of the first commuter suburbs meant to be accessed via the Baltimore & Ohio railroad line that ran through it. The town was founded in 1883 by Benjamin Franklin Gilbert (1841-1907) as a restful and healthful retreat from grimy downtown Washington.
|Takoma Hall circa 1910 (author's collection).|
at 7:20 AM
Monday, August 6, 2012
Last time we re-lived the Willard Hotel's early era, when it was run by brothers Henry and Joseph Willard and occupied a sprawling complex of low-rise 19th-century buildings on the northwest corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. With the death of Joseph in 1897, control of the hotel fell to his son, "Captain" Joseph E. Willard (1865-1924), who had big changes in mind. As the 20th century dawned, a new era and a new building were in store for Washington's most prominent hotel, and there would be plenty of drama ahead as well. At one point the building was abandoned and left in ruins, but it finally took on a new life as the once-again grand hotel we know today.
|The Willard Hotel, circa 1910 (author's collection).|
at 7:09 AM