Wonderful Distraction: Vanished Washington

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I’ve spent several hours this weekend immersed in a pictorial website, Vanished Washington: An architectural eulogy of what was Washington, D.C.

I’ve found several photographs of the buildings and sites where Emmett would have seen and visited when he lived in D.C. as a Congressman between 1913 and 1917.

Emmett would have definitely passed this statue on his way down Capitol Hill to visit with Postmaster General Albert Burleson, or to meetings at The White House. Source: theruinedcapitol.com

Emmett would have definitely passed this statue walking down Pennsylvania Avenue from Capitol Hill en route to visit with Postmaster General Albert Burleson, or to meetings at The White House. Source: theruinedcapitol.com

The wonderful thing about this website is that if you click on the image, you get the backstory of the location, a map (Baist or Sanborn) of the original location, and a photo of the building currently on the site. This is a wonderful resource if you are interested in getting a feel for what it was like for Emmett to walk around in D.C. in the early 1900s — as I am.


I’ve also identified original buildings that stood in office spaces where I work with different clients in downtown D.C. For example, I used to work for a supermarket industry association located right across the street from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but I like the original building better. What’s interesting about all of the photos is that in the 1870s, most Washingtonians didn’t think businesses would expand beyond K Street, N.W. Today, most of downtown D.C. is made of box-shaped glass and concrete monstrosities.

Corner of 17th & K, about 1925 (photo from the Library of Congress & Vanishing Washington). I used to work at 1750 K St. NW, which was someone's house once upon a time.

Corner of 17th & K, about 1925 (photo from the Library of Congress & Vanishing Washington). I used to work at 1750 K St. NW, which would be on the far right hand side of the photo, just out of the frame. If you click on the link and look at what is there today, it is hard to imagine that that was someone’s house once upon a time.

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