Georgetown Skyline: 1910

As the debate over the future of the West Heating Plant continued over here, the discussion turned instead to the past. Reader Walter directed our attention to a photo at the Library of Congress from 1910 (or thereabouts) taken from the top of the Washington Monument. It’s part of a 360 degree panoramic, but given the high quality of the large format photography used at the time, we can zoom in and get a wonderful snapshot of Georgetown’s skyline.

Here’s the overall shot:

The immediate point being addressed by Walter in linking to the photo was that at the time a gigantic tank of gas was stored at the corner of M and 30th. Here’s a shot of it:

What immediately jumps out at you when looking at this shot is the ramshackle state of the waterfront. It was still a very active and industrial area. There are five significant smokestacks, of which two remain today. But your eyes are also drawn to GU:

Healy Hall can be seen in all its splendor. You can also clearly see the observatory over on the left. The rest of the campus is quite rural. (You can also see the Car Barn at the bottom left of this detail. It was less than 20 years old at this point).

Another detail that GM loves are the elementary schools. Here you can see the magnificent Curtis School next to the still standing Hyde and Addison schools:

It’s remarkable to see how Curtis dwarfed Hyde and Addison despite the fact that those other schools are hardly small! Curtis, by the way, was demolished in 1951.

Surely there are many more identifiable buildings in the photo. If you find more, chime in in the comments.

And because, hey, it’s fun: here’s the 1910 shot versus a modern shot taken by Andreaweckerle.

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2 Comments

Filed under History

2 responses to “Georgetown Skyline: 1910

  1. Walter

    The pair of tall, light-colored chimneys along the waterfront belong to the DC Traction power station, which until about 50 years ago, occupied the site of recently opened section of the park. It does look as if the power station itself is under construction.

    To the right of the Traction Co. chimneys are the two chimneys (one light, one dark-colored) for the long, brick building on the north side of Grace St. (Can’t remember what its original use was.)

    To the right of the two chimneys, you can make out Grace Episcopal. Its precisely on the axis of Virginia Ave.

    The set of photographs appear to have been taken in mid-March. Its a warm day, because a group of men in white shirts appear to be playing pick-up baseball on the Ellipse. (This is another photograph in the set.)

    Even though it is 1910, I cannot definitively find a motor vehicle in any of the photographs, though there are several possibles. There is a big wagon of hay that has just turned onto Constitution from Virginia Ave.

  2. I know this is an old post, but really cool. I love that old photo you found.

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