Absolutely Amazing – Photos of Petworth from 1893

“Newman Row, first houses built in Petworth 8th Street between Upshur and Varnum, March 1893”

I’ve been doing this blog coming on 9 years now and this might be coolest email I’ve ever received:

“I have found very old photos from my family, who were early builders/residents of DC. Apparently they built a row of houses that were the “first in Petworth” in 1893, back then called Newman’s Row. My paternal grandfather’s family’s name is Newman and the homes were at 8th and Upshur.”

Thanks so much to Connie for sharing her family’s photos – they are jaw droppingly spectacular.

“Newman residence, first in Petworth 1893” (These are Newmans)

“View west from Newman Residence, 8th and Upshur 1893”

“Newman Row Petworth 1894”

8th and Upshur Street, NW Today:

looking north on 8th towards Varnum

looking east on Upshur towards New Hampshire

looking west on Upshur towards Georgia

28 Comment

  • Egad

    Beautiful pics. Wow. Thanks for sharing!

  • Funny how there are more trees now.

  • Those buildings are so out of scale with their surroundings!

  • Wow, those are awesome, thanks for sharing! I haven’t seen any pictures from even close to this time period – really cool. Looks like Newman Row is actually on the east side of 8th between Upshur and Varnum St NW, though (your first modern day picture shows the west side). If you look closely today at the first, most southern house on the row (in person or in google maps street view), you can still see the steps going off the side of the porch, rather than the front – that must be where the Newman family is posing for their picture.

    • Wow, that is really cool to see on Google Maps. I’ll have to go check it out in person. Thank you.

  • Get these historic designation now before they start popping up! Awesome photos!

  • Would love to see more photos like these. I bet you could sell them as prints in stores along Upshur St.

  • This row is now the multicolored Upshur Row Condominiums on the east side of 8th (PoPville posts here: http://www.popville.com/2007/11/renovated-rowhouses-on-upshur-and-8th/ and here: http://www.popville.com/2007/11/sneak-peak-inside-new-condo-townhomes-on-the-800-block-of-upshur/)

  • One of them is mine! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Blithe

    VERY Wow! Thanks so much for sharing these!

  • 4200 block of 8th St. really cool. it’s a little hard due to the trees on google street view, but you can definitely recognize the 3rd floor/ attic windows as being exactly the same then and now. Appears that the Newmans are standing right next to where the church front steps are today.

    • Just noticed that the porch post/pillar details that are so clearly visible behind the newmans in their family photos are still evident on the front porch of 4213 8th St. Cool that they are still there (or exactly reproduced) some 120 years later. Talk about things being built to last….

  • Very nice.

  • Emmaleigh504

    This is so cool! Thanks for sharing the old photos and thanks for showing what it looks like now.

  • Anonynon

    Awesome, are those the same houses? They look very similar

  • These houses all had shutters! Interesting that so many of these houses no longer have porch roofs. I wonder if the dormers had something to do with that. Thank you so much for posting. More stuff like this please!

  • I’m fascinated that they went from empty fields to high-density row homes with no iteration in between. They just look so out of place crammed in there like that surrounded by nothing.

    • That was my reaction too! You can tell the Newmans knew that dense development was coming, right behind the streetcar to the Soldier’s Home.

  • Connie, these are real treasures. You might have other material from your family’s life and work in DC, and all of it would be enthusiastically received by a local archives or special collections. The big three in DC that collect Washingtoniana are George Washington University’s Special Collections Research Center, the DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana division, and the DC Historical Society. If you ever want to donate it somewhere where generations of students and historians can learn from it, talk to someone at one of these institutions. Thanks for sharing it here as well!

    • Thanks, everyone 🙂 This has been really cool to share the photos and read the comments. I have a few more that I am going to submit soon. I’m pretty sure that these were taken by Edwin A. Newman, who was the patriarch at this time and apparently a photographer. He was also active in the Democratic National Committee and the family stories I have heard is that the family owned a large expanse of DC, including Rock Creek Park. The family goes back to 1730, directly descended from Isaac Pierce (he built Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park) and Thomas Carbery, one of the first mayors. I was born in Providence Hospital up there, but I live in Florida now. The next time I am up there I will bring all these artifacts and meet with one of those organizations 🙂 Apparently the family also had some kind of intermarriage with the tribe of Pocahontas, but that has never been confirmed for me.

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