Albany City Hall, Albany, NY

City Hall in Albany, between 1900 and 1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Albany

City Hall in 2009:

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Albany’s current City Hall was built in 1883 to replace an earlier building that burned in a fire.  It was designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and not much has changed about its appearance in the past 100 years, other than the addition of the clock face on the tower.

White House, Washington DC

The White House, as it appeared in either the 1880s or 1890s. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Other Places

The same view in 2012:

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The White House doesn’t look all that different from what it looked like in the late 19th century, and yet almost everything about it has changed.  The East Wing and West Wing, which aren’t visible in the 2012 photo, didn’t exist at the time of the first photo, nor did the third floor on the roof, or the second floor balcony behind the pillars.  But, the most dramatic changes in the past 120 or so years came in the late 1940’s, when the badly-deteriorated wood frame was in danger of collapse.  The entire interior was gutted, the wood frame was replaced with steel, and the interior put back into place afterward (see this photo of bulldozers and dump trucks at work inside the White House).  The exterior, however, remains much the same as it did after the reconstruction following its burning during the War of 1812.

National Mall from the Washington Monument

The National Mall, looking toward the Capitol Building, as seen from the Washington Monument between 1906 and 1915:

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The same view in 2006:

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Again, the view isn’t exact – the 2006 photo is zoomed in a little further than the original photo, but it captures much the same area, including the Capitol, the Smithsonian Castle, and the Museum of Natural History.  The Library of Congress is also barely visible behind and to the right of the Capitol, although the Supreme Court Building is notably missing from the first photo – it wouldn’t be built until 1935. The National Mall, though, didn’t have the same carefully-manicured appearance in the early 1900’s as it does today – at the time, it was very much a work in process.

Looking northeast from the Washington Monument

The view looking northeast from the top of the Washington Monument, between 1906 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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A similar (although not quite exact) view from 2006:

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The two photos don’t quite line up perfectly, but since I took the present-day photo over seven years ago without having the older one in mind, I would say I came pretty close.  The early 20th century photo, though, shows the view of DC a little further to the right than what I actually took in 2006.  Still, though, there are a few landmarks visible in both – in particular, the Old Post Office Pavilion located on the far right of the 2006 photo.  Otherwise, much has changed – the low-rise buildings in the foreground were replaced by the massive present-day government buildings that were built in the 1930’s, and currently house the US Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency.

White House from the Washington Monument

The view of the White House, as seen from the top of the Washington Monument between 1906 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

Aerial Views

The same view in 2006:

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Unlike the view looking slightly northwest of here, there have not been many dramatic changes in this photo. The White House is there, as are the two wings (although both the main building and the wings have been extensively gutted and remodeled in the intervening century), and the Old Executive Office Building (left of the White House) and the Treasury Building (right of the White House) are still there, as are the landscaping features such as the Ellipse in the foreground.  Otherwise, the appearance of the city, given skyscrapers are not permitted, remains much the same as it did 100 years ago.

Looking northwest from the Washington Monument

The view from the top of the Washington Monument, taken between 1906 and 1915. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in February, 2006:

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Both photos are taken looking almost directly down Virginia Ave., but other than the street network, not much remains from the early 1900s photo.  As least two buildings are identifiable in both: the white building in the lower right, and the building to the right of it (which is barely visible in the first photo).  They are the Organization of American States and the Daughters of the American Revolution buildings, respectively.  Otherwise, the area looks remarkably sparse in the first photo, primarily because most of the land in the foreground did not exist before the 1880s, when the Potomac River was dredged, and the dredged material used to fill in this area to address flooding issues.  The Constitution Gardens, visible in the lower left of the 2006 photo, would not exist for another 70 years.  Shortly after the first photo was taken, the Navy built temporary offices during World War I.  These “temporary” offices lasted into the 1970s, when they were demolished to create the pond and parkland visible today.