|(Photo by the author)|
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
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Union Station probably reflects better than any other single Washington building the remarkable self-assuredness and imperial aspirations of its age. The architecture is stunningly elegant, both outside and in, and it was one of the first properties in the District of Columbia to be named to the National Register of Historic Places. After having been brought back from near-death in the 1980s, the station is once again the subject of development debate. Instead of dreaming up improbable and unneeded functions like the ill-conceived National Visitor Center of the 1970s, planners are now focusing on the hard realities of the station's increasingly heavy use as a transportation hub, which strain its resources and demand modernization. A vision of an almost unrecognizably transformed space has been put forth.
While the feasibility of this multi-billion dollar plan is debated, a more immediate proposal is on the table to make alterations to the station's main waiting room (primarily by cutting two escalator holes in the floor) to allow visitors to more easily access the retail space that has been created in the basement. Repairs have also been underway in the main waiting room and surrounding areas as a result of damage sustained during the 2011 earthquake. All of this activity raises questions about how well the station's grand interior spaces have been preserved and whether it is time to revisit compromises made back in the 1980s. Most notably, a few of the building's finest public spaces—the Ladies' Waiting Room, the Lunch Room, and the Smoking Room (or Men's Waiting Room)—suffered in the 1980s rehab and could once again be grand if finally given the chance.
at 3:38 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
What to do with worn-out paper currency? Macerate it! Today's picture is of a classic tourist souvenir from the early years of the 20th century—a postcard made from macerated currency.
at 9:43 PM