“U.S. Capitol through tulip magnolia,” ca. 1920 – ca. 1950, by Theodor Horydczak, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
All photos here via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Above: “View from White House porch [looking north to Lafayette Park],” Washington, D.C., 1920, from National Photo Company Collection. President and Mrs. Wilson introduced sheep to the White House lawn. The wool went to the Red Cross.
Above: Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Dickbrader and Mr. Arcularius on the porch of the Dickbrader House, Franklin County, Missouri, by HABS.
Above: John Calvin Owings House, Laurens, South Carolina, by HABS.
Above: Porch of Smithcliffs House, North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, by HABS.
Above: “View from north porch looking south into Back Hall, with Reception Hall south door open [and closed] – Homewood (cropped slightly by me),” Baltimore, Maryland, 2005, by James W. Rosenthal for HABS.
. . . . . Houses in rows
Patient as cows.
— Robert Pinsky, from “City Elegies — III. House Hour“
Petworth was farm and forest until the 1880s when the land was purchased for development. In the 1920s and 30s, thousands of rowhouses were built, many of them in a style popularized by developer Harry Wardman (from 1907) — with its distinctive elevated front porch and tiny front yard.
“The porches [were] a big part of growing up in Petworth. On my block there had to be 15 or 20 kids, and you’d come home from school, get on the porch, and look down the block, and you could see this long row of porches, and you’d see everybody coming out of their house. The porches made you get to know your neighbors, they made it a neighborhood.”
— A Petworth resident in the 1940s, quoted in the Washington City Paper
Wardman built his front porch rowhouses in large parts of northwest Washington, and several other developers copied them all over D.C.
Petworth was named a “Best Old House Neighborhood of 2013” by the magazine This Old House.
Above: backyards of rowhouses, neighborhood not noted, Washington, D.C., July 1939, by David Myers, via Library of Congress.
At the backs of Wardman-style rowhouses were screened sleeping porches (top) and kitchen porches (bottom).
Before air conditioning, water was the best remedy for hot summer weather.
The children in the photos just above and below were enjoying a public fountain in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1912.
The fountain is the Peace Monument on the U.S. Capitol grounds.
Below are children in a public pool in Washington, D.C., also in 1912.
All of the above four photos were taken by Harris & Ewing.
The three photos below of bathers in Rock Creek Park were taken by the National Photo Company between 1920 and 1932.
The photo label for the above picture is “Women and children find some relief by wading in the creek on one of the hottest days in the history of the Capital. Snapped in Rock Creek Park today.”
The highest temperature recorded for Washington, D.C., was 106°F, in 1918 and 1930. The city just missed matching the old record yesterday, only reaching 105°F.
Below are children playing in an “old swimming hole” in the Washington, D.C., area. The photo was taken by Theodor Horydczak between 1920 and 1950.
The photo below shows a group of proper young ladies at the free public baths, Harriet Island, St. Paul, Minnesota. It was taken by the Detroit Publishing Co. around 1905.
How hard to be so dressed up at the lake!
Below are children playing with a rope at a beach, possibly at Atlantic City, New Jersey. The photo was taken between 1890 and 1910 by the Detroit Publishing Co.
The lure of water in a fountain during hot weather is universal. Below are children in Japan or Korea in 1908. The photo was taken by Arnold Genthe.
All images via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Click on any photo to enlarge it.