Flashback: September 29, 2010

by Prince Of Petworth April 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm 14 Comments

14th and u
Photo of ’14th and U St, NW 1988′ by Michael Horsley

Amazing Flickr Photos of DC from 1985 to 1988

Thanks to a friend of mine for sending this incredible link to a flickr series called ‘Hidden Washington DC’. The description says:

“From 1985 to 1988 I wandered the streets of Washington DC photographing the unseen and vanishing moments of the city. These images lay dormant in the archives until I realized that they needed to be brought to life before the persons and spaces are totally lost to entropy and time.”

They are absolutely fascinating. See them all here.

And many thanks to Mr. Horsley for allowing me to post.

  • odd nostalgia

    having moved to dupont as a kid in ’90, those photos bring back a lot of memories. no one ever believes me about how 14th and other parts of the city used to be, but those photos are proof. DC went from staggeringly poor to breathtakingly rich in 30 years.

    • bruno

      Agreed. And really, from about 1998 onward… before that, dicey. Could have gone either way. I used to feel I had the whole city to myself. No one wanted to live downtown, but I always liked it. Even when it was dicey and bleak. Still had an openness to it.

    • Rich

      U Street began to become “cool” around the time that the Green/Yellow Line opened–so more like mid-90s. As for “staggeringly poor” much of DC still is and, in the 90s most of it was “staggeringly middle class”. I used to have regular reason to drive through Woodridge, Brookland, manor Park, Riggs Park Brightwood, etc. Most of DC was invisible to “most” (white) people then –they were stuck in a bubble where even Adams Morgan (technically East of the park) was about as exotic as they could tolerate.

  • These photos are so old they could have voted for Kerry

    This now says 1984-1994; I assume more photos are being added in batches

    • I thought that 1984 to 1994 was a good span for this subject. My core work occurred 1986-1988.

  • Nancy

    Never really thought to take pics in DC neighborhoods back then. But this brought back some memories. Thanks.

  • Anon

    Talk about lost society

  • Hank

    Here’s another collection of DC photos from the 90s and 00’s https://www.flickr.com/photos/photosofwashingtondc/

  • wpk_dc

    Wow, so cool to see these pics. I moved to DC in the mid-80s to go to GW and I’ve lived in the city ever since (Foggy Bottom, Adams Morgan, U Street 2000-2015, and Mt Vernon Triangle now). Looking at these pics now, I wonder why I ever went downtown back in the 80s. What a transformation! And those of us who’ve been here long term have witnessed it all. I do love DC!!

  • Planner

    When I was in high school in the late 70s, “14th & U” was shorthand for everything bad about the city – drugs, prostitution, decrepit buildings. Want to start a high school fight? Tell someone you saw his momma at 14th & U last night… By the early 90s I was living (briefly) on the west coast and started hearing about the “New U” after metro construction ended, and the Green Line opened. The change in the area was incredible to me, and still is, though I’ve lived in the neighborhood for a long time now.

  • lizcolleena

    Wow this should be a museum exhibit with side by side comparisons. What a difference a couple decades make.

    • Thanks for the kind words. I am almost finished with a book and working with a gallery on H street to have an exhibit.

      • Let me know when you have details and I’ll be sure to post about them!

  • Thank you Prince of Petworth. You have been instrumental showcasing my work. Since the first blog post in 2010 I have been involved in many projects, films, theater, books, and exhibits. I can’t thank you enough.

    Once my “Streets of DC” book and exhibit are done I plan to work on “The Grid” a massive collaborative effort to photograph DC starting in winter 2017-2018.

    I’d love to show this work at the National Building Museum or some other appropriate venue. Its a big hustle sometimes and opportunities have to be made they just don’t occur magically.

    So, I thank everyone who has supported this work.

    Michael Horsley


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