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.

The scene in 1945. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The scene in 2021:

Much has changed in more than a century since the first photo was taken, including the massive complex of government buildings in the foreground, which now house the US Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency. However, some of the landmarks from the first photo are still standing, including most prominently the Old Post Office just to the left of center, which is now the Trump International Hotel. Further in the distance is the Pension Building, which is now the National Building Museum, and in the upper right corner is Union Station. Much closer to the foreground, on the far right side of both photos, is the back corner of the National Museum of Natural History.

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.

The scene in 1945. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The same view in 2021:

Unlike the view looking slightly northwest of here, there have not been many dramatic changes between these three photos. 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.

The scene in 1945. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, FSA/OWI Collection.

The same view in 2021:

All three of these 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 that photo and the 2021 scene: 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 2021 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, which are shown in the 1945 photo, lasted into the 1970s, when they were demolished to create the pond and parkland visible today.