Then and Now: The corner of Florida and P has been providing gas for automobiles for over 80 years. The photo on the left was taken in 1929 when the Penn Oil Company was doing business there. Today the corner is operated by BP.
Archive for Shaw
Located on the northwest corner of 7th and O Streets, NW, the Northern Market dates to 1881, when a group of displaced vendors selected the land after Boss Shepherd demolished the original Northern Liberties Market in 1872.
By July 21, 1881, the market — which ran 192 feet on 7th street and 90 feet along O Street — had foundations laid and the walls five feet above the ground. The building was scheduled to be ready for rafters and roofing by August 1. When completed, the market was estimated to cost $19,200 with land costing $23,000. Land values in the immediate area began to rise as the new market was being constructed.
Serving the community solidly from the time of its opening, it gradually fell into disrepair. Seemingly without major structural problems, the building was emptied of tenants several months prior to construction in anticipation of its transformation into an upscale shopping center when the unthinkable happened.
Following a weekend blizzard, the roof gave way under the weight of snow on February 18, 2003. On the brink of a major renovation, the company leading that renovation was confident that work on the building would continue. Despite this, the hollow shell of the market still sits in limbo, with development hinging on financing. Facing yet another hurdle, last week the O Street Market was among listed projects with approved funding that may have funds diverted to finance the new Convention Hotel planned for the city.
Here’s a nice shot from the Smithsonian Institution. It shows the interior of the Industiral Bank at 11th and U Streets ca. 1934. I’ve never been in the bank, but I really love their sign out front with the clock at the bottom. Now, if only they would turn the neon on for me.
According to the Cinema Treasures site, the Howard Theater opened on August 22, 1910, in a primarily African-American area of Washington, near Howard University which lead to the theater’s name. It sat around 1,200 and was designed by architect J. Edward Storck and built for the National Amusement Company. During the mid-1920’s, it was sold to Abe Lichtman, a white theater owner of theaters that catered to African-Americans. As you can see from the vintage photograph above, it was billed as the “largest colored theater in the World.”
Its facade was a blend of several theater styles popular in the era, including Beaux-Arts, Neo Classical, and Italian Renaissance. At the top of the facade, overlooking T Street, was an over life-size statue of Apollo playing his lyre. The interior was even more extravagant, with a large balcony, eight boxes, a number of dressing rooms, and three entrances. Continue reading
According to the Cinema Treasures site, the Republic Theatre opened on 30th May 1921. It was located a block west of the Lincoln Theatre, between 13th and 14th Streets, NW. It was located in the heart of the U Street African-American shopping district and was listed in the Film Daily Yearbooks as a “Negro” theatre.
The theatre was designed by architect Phillip M. Julien and was a single screen venue. The exterior was given a slightly Spanish look with a Spanish tile roof topping the facade. Inside the auditorium, which originally seated 1,304, the seating was arranged in a stadium plan with no overhanging balcony, but there was a loge level half-way back. A Moller two Manual organ was installed in 1924.
The Republic was closed in 1976 and was later demolished to make way for the new Metro system.
If you walk by the site there is still a trace of the original building for the keen observer. An alley now cuts through the western most portion of the site, and the left wall of the alley is part of the former structure. You can still see a sliver of the building along the sidewalk.
(Historic images courtesy Smithsonian Institution)