Yesterday, GM ran an article about the history of the Corcoran School on 28th St. GM relied heavily on a free asset that he’s not sure many people are aware of: the entire Washington Post archives. And he got them with an assist from the DC public library.
Here’s the page full of the online newspaper and magazine articles that the library offers free for any library card holder (not a card holder? Sign up online here.) Of particular interest to GM are the Post archives, which go back to 1877, but there are other more limited archives for other newspapers like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.
GM’s of the position that any randomly selected newspaper from the past is going to be fascinating. But luckily for those looking for a particular piece of information, the archives have a strong search function.
So you’ve got your card and you’ve signed in, what you should look for? GM thinks the first thing you ought to do is type in your address. You might be surprised what you find. GM didn’t uncover any lurid history for his house, but he did find a real estate listing from the early 80s that indicated that his house had a much different layout back then. He typed in a few of his neighbors’ addresses, just out of curiosity, and he found a real estate listing from the 50s for the house across the street with its very own sketch:
You probably don’t live in a converted church, so it’s unlikely you’ll find something like this, but you never know until you type it in!