Picturing D.C. (year by year)

"Photographers shooting cherry blossoms, Washington D.C., April 7, 1922," by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
“Photographers shooting cherry blossoms, Washington D.C., April 7, 1922,” by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and D.C. Past.

I want to share my recent discovery of D.C. Past, a tumblr blog that is “curating the photographic history” of Washington, D.C.

Kate Birmingham and Guillermo Esteves choose 19th and 20th century photos from the online catalogues of the Library of Congress and the National Archives.  However, when shown on D.C. Past, the images are generally much larger and (pretty darn) sharp.

I love this early shot, below, of the Lincoln Memorial — the Reflecting Pool is still only a wetland.

"Lincoln Memorial with Marsh in foreground," 1917, by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
“Lincoln Memorial with marsh in foreground,” 1917, by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and D.C. Past.

Four years later. . .

"Lincoln Memorial from Monument," May 30, 1922, by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
“Lincoln Memorial from Monument,” May 30, 1922, by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and D.C. Past.

You’ll have to go to D.C. Past, here and here, for the “much larger” part.

I like these swimmers below too.  They’re in the Tidal Basin.  And yesterday’s post was interesting — look at the (lack of) height of the fence.

"Bathing Beach,"  Washington, D.C., Tidal Basin, ca. 1912-1930, by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs  Division.
“Bathing Beach,” Washington, D.C., Tidal Basin, ca. 1912-1930, by National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and D.C. Past.

(A link to the photo at the top is here.)

D.C. Past is still rather new; its first picture was posted in March 2013.  But this makes it easy to catch up and get hooked.

There is also a NYC Past here and a Chicago Past here.

10 thoughts on “Picturing D.C. (year by year)

    1. I love the idea of Washington’s greek temple monuments and buildings in wild settings: the Lincoln Memorial in a wetland (instead of the reflecting pool); the Smithsonian museums in a forest and/or meadow (instead of the mall). Not very practical, but lovely to imagine.

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