Archive for April 21, 2009

Lost Washington: Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station

Posted in Lost Washington, Mall (The), Train Stations on April 21, 2009 by Kent
(Courtesy DC Public Library Commons' photostream)

(Courtesy DC Public Library Commons' photostream)

The Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station was located at the southwest corner of Constitution Avenue and 6th Street, NW. It was constructed between 1873 and  1878, being an outstanding example of the use of Victorian Gothic motifs.

Because of the soft ground over Tiber Creek, the building was supported by wooden piles driven to a depth of 35 ft. The tracks leading to the station crossed Long Bridge (roughly where 14th Street Bridge is), proceeded down Maryland Avenue, SW, crossed the Mall at 6th Street, and terminated at Constitution Avenue (then B Street).

There was a 130 ft train shed stretched halfway across the Mall leading up to the station, and this eyesore, along with the adjacent piles of coal for the engines, remained until the entire station was razed in 1908, following the opening of the new Union Station.

The most significant event in the history of the station was the assassination of President James A. Garfield, which took place in the main lobby at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 2, 1881. After only being in office for four months, Garfield was shot in the back and shoulder by Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally deranged office seeker. Garfield was taken to the White House where doctors were unable to locate and remove the bullet. Because of the uncomfortable heat and humidity, Garfield was taken by train to Elberton, New Jersey, where he died on September 19th.


Central Liquors

Posted in Liquor Stores, Neon, Penn Quarter on April 21, 2009 by Kent

central-liquorI’m going to be honest and admit to posting this sign because I like Neon. The sign has been around forever, too.

That aside, I do like Central Liquors — located at 917 F Street, NW — and think they have a very knowledgeable staff. Several years ago I stopped in during lunch with a friend because I needed to pick up some vodka, and the gentleman that assisted me suggested I try a bottle from Poland.

I liked that he brought to my attention what he felt to be a superior product at a good price, rather than try to sell me a bottle that was expensive … and you know, he was right. It was a good bottle.

I was in there recently and it seemed a bit cleaner than I remember it to be back before F Street was swept up in the gentrification tsunami. But the staff are still there, and its still the store I know.

1968 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller

Posted in Crestwood, Vintage Vehicles with tags , on April 21, 2009 by Kent

I was surprised to stumble upon this vehicle on the way to my gym (which on weekends is over in Van Ness). Its a 1968 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller. The Morris Minor was a popular British motor car aimed at the family market. From what I’ve been able to find, the Traveller was introduced in 1952 along with van and pick-up versions. The Traveller featured an external structural ash (wood) frame for the rear bodywork, with two side-hinged rear doors. The frame was varnished rather than painted and a highly visible feature of the body style. Rear bodies of the van versions were all steel. The Traveller was very popular, and remained in production until 1971.1968 Morris Minor Traveller1968 Morris Minor Traveller 2

Washington First Major City to Get Free Digital TV for Mobile Devices

Posted in Entertainment, Lifestyle on April 21, 2009 by Kent

mobile-dtvWOW. Can you imagine getting free digital TV broadcasts on mobile devices like cell phones, laptop computers and in-car entertainment systems? Well, it looks like residents of DC won’t have to use their imaginations for long.

According to an Associated Press story yesterday, broadcasts using new “mobile DTV” technology are expected to begin in late summer from five stations: local affiliates of CBS, NBC, PBS and Ion and one independent station owned by Fox. The initial broadcasts will be identical to those beamed to TV sets, including the advertising.

While Washington will be the first city to get this service, cities where expansion will occur quickly are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Atlanta.

Overall, this is a great development. My only concerns are increased noise on Metro buses and trains. I know that rules are in place that insist on the use of headphones. I also know that even when they are currently used, I’m often treated to someone else’s musical selection on the ride home.


Posted in 16th Street Heights, Bridges, Columbia Heights, Crestwood, Sculpture on April 21, 2009 by Kent

I’m guessing that many more people are familiar with the lions on the Taft Bridge and the bison on the Dumbarton Bridge than they are with the tigers on the Piney Branch Bridge (16th street bridge) just north of Spring Road. Interestingly, they are by the same artist that created the bison on the Dumbarton Bridge, A. Phimister Proctor.

The tigers were commissioned by the District of Columbia and originally to be executed in concrete. Proctor had other ideas, and cast them in bronze instead, paying for the casting himself. They date to 1910.

Proctor lioness

Measles Found in Metropolitan Area

Posted in Health on April 21, 2009 by Kent

measlesThe Associated Press reports that five measles cases in the Washington area has prompted public health officials from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia yesterday to start an awareness campaign to urge people to protect themselves from the potentially deadly disease.

Since measles has been nearly eradicated in the United States, health officials are concerned about the multiple outbreaks in so short a time. It is a highly infectious virus that spreads through contact with an infected person sneezing or coughing.

So far, four of the cases are in Montgomery County and one case is in the District. Interestingly, the D.C. case is not related to the other four.

There is also a related article about this in today’s Post.

Flowers For Phones … Who Knew?

Posted in Commuity News & Events, Downtown, Farragut Square on April 21, 2009 by Kent

4_6_flowers_phones_graphic72dpiSomehow, I missed this and yet, I didn’t. Even though there clearly is a rain date of April 21 (today), the tents were up and flowers were being given away yesterday in the rain.

This is how it was supposed to work from their web announcement:

Stop by Farragut Square Park or Golden Triangle Park on Monday April 20 from 11:00am-2:00pm to recycle your used cell phone—it’s easy, free and tax deductible—and you’ll get a free flower for your home or office and a chance to win cool prizes from area shops and restaurants. It’s all part of the Golden Triangle’s Spring Cleanup Week to make the central business district look better than ever.

Flower for Phones, Farragut SquareIn reality, with all the rain, there were very few people out, and many flowers to be distributed. What ended up happening yesterday was a flower distribution with public awareness about recycling cell phones.

So, I have my daffodil, and encourage everyone who may have a used cell phone or PDA to go to the website and find out if you can still donate it for recycling. Its better than sitting in your dresser drawer, right?

Of course, there’s a good chance they will be out again today!!!daffodil on my desk