Skating on the Reflecting Pool of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., January 1922, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
To scroll through larger versions of the images, click on any of the thumbnails in the gallery.
The Pool and its surroundings were actually still under construction when these skaters took to the ice. From 1922 to the 1980s, people skated on the Pool during very cold periods (it’s no longer allowed).
These photos may have been taken between January 23 and 27, when an Arctic airmass was keeping Washington’s temperatures down below freezing. On the 28th, it began to snow, eventually accumulating to 28″ (71 cm.).*
This was the infamous Knickerbocker Storm, so named because, about 9:00 p.m. that night, the flat roof of the Knickerbocker Theater collapsed during a movie, killing 98 people and injuring 133.
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.
Four years later. . .
You’ll have to go to D.C. Past, here and here, for the “much larger” part.
“Children with sailboats at Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial in background, Washington, D.C.,” in the 1920s. Photographer unknown, part of the National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Unfortunately, these little boats would be swamped today, as Washington is in the grip of tropical storm Andrea.
Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
Bitten by the sun
Dripping rain like golden honey—
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.