Dear PoPville – Where was This Photo of Petworth from 1920 Taken?

Photo of Row Houses in Petworth in 1920 via Library of Congress by photographer Horydczak, Theodor

“Dear PoPville,

I think it’s cool to see Petworth before the trees got established [1920]. Kinda looks like any other suburb. I’ve been trying to figure out where exactly the picture was taken. Anyone know?”

That is wild! To me, it looks like the view from where the Safeway is now on Georgia Ave looking west? Anyone else have a guess?

23 Comment

  • janie4

    If that tower is the church on New Hampshire and Randolph, this looks like it would be taken from somewhere around Taylor and 5th

  • Cool. looks like a prison camp or something…everything so uniform

  • Shadows cast from the chimneys from right to left and away from the camera. That means we’re probably looking northeast in the morning, or southeast in the evening. The six-house row in the foreground is pretty rare from looking at google earth. My guess is looking southeast from a point just west of 7th and Ingraham towards Fort Totten (hill in the background).

  • The long chimney shadows would indicate sunrise or sunset. The distant woods are not the western valleys of Rock Creek, but more likely the eastern ridges of Ft Totten – Soldiers Home? There don’t appear to be any Kansas or New Hampshire diagonals in the photo. Having a hard time placing the photo on a Google terrain map…..

  • The top of the Truesdell school, Ingraham & 9th, looking SE.

  • Nicely done, but can you tell me where this one was taken?

  • i had always assume that the backends of these houses were decks or sleeping porches that were enclosed much later. interesting to see that they were built this way. god it looks boring back then.

    • I always assume the same and I am positive that in many instances that is the case. I am knee deep in the renovation of a Parkview Rowhouse that at my house it was very definitely a sleeping porch that was enclosed at a later date, at both floors it is lower and slopes away from the main house, and in opening up the walls they actually used the horizontal railing from the porch as vertical studs in the wall, painted and triangle cut profile

  • Do you think there were hipsters logan circle discussing the bleak, characterless, far out suburbs of Petworth back then like Petworth hipsters speak of silver spring now?

  • I find it really interesting that the end unit on the right is significantly wider than the others, I suspect that the middle units are on a twenty foot wide lot from looking at the windows on both the fronts of the facing house and backs of the foreground, but the left unit of the foreground stick seems wider, 22 to 24, more like many of the “commercial” places along Georgia, I have seen the bump out end units around but never units that were clearly wider

    • Over here in 16th Street Heights, it is very typical for the row end houses to be both wider and deeper, sometimes even with entrance facing the cross street.

    • on my block and those surrounding it on 9th street the end units are all larger then the interior units and do not appear to have been modified.

  • Neat! A prize to anyone who can get on top of the school and take the same picture from today’s vantage point.

    Interesting how the blocks seem to create a plaza-like square with the backyards. Are those still there, or have they been filled in?

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