Historical Roads and Buildings in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia

Have you ever wondered what the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area looked like from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century? Thanks to the Bureau of Public Roads role in documenting road constructions, highways, building structures, etc., you are in luck.

Record Group 30: Historical Photograph Files, 1896-1963 (30-N) contains photographs documenting these activities. Subjects include vehicles, traffic, highways structures, maps, tourist cabins and motels, car washes, shopping centers, bus terminals, and parking garages. The photographs selected for this post document buildings, bridges, streets, and highways in different areas of the DMV. Areas include Rock Creek Park, Anacostia, Pennsylvania Avenue, DuPont Circle (DC); Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Laurel, Silver Spring, Hyattsville, Rockville (MD); and Falls Church, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax (VA).

 Please note, if the caption on the mount does not list the specific date, the last two digits of the year taken are included as part of the numbering system for photographs after 1930.

Washington, DC

Connecticut Avenue bridge (NAID 169142884, 30-N-36-597-A)
Lincoln Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River (NAID 169142926, 30-N-38-1585-A)
Arlington Memorial Bridge across the Potomac River (NAID 169142956, 30-N-43-2435)
Rock Creek Park, Boulder Bridge (NAID 169142798, 30-N-348)
Pennsylvania Avenue NW (NAID 169152439, 30-N-35-1557)
15th & Pennsylvania Avenue (NAID 169152435, 30-N-31489)
Dupont Circle, Looking North (NAID 205739304, 30-N-46-2299)


Chesapeake Bay Bridge (NAID 169137202, 30-N-51-169)
Left-turn storage lane on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Maryland (NAID 169142636, 30-N-53-1368)
Steal-beamed bridge over the Patuxent River at Laurel, Maryland (NAID 169143460, 30-N-53-962)
New B&O underpass in Silver Spring, Maryland (NAID 169146798, 30-N-49-340)
Traffic on the Washington-Baltimore Pike in Maryland (NAID 169153473, 30-N-31-812)
U.S. Route 1, Hyattsville, Maryland (NAID 169153728, 30-N-39-4284)
Maryland State Route 5 (NAID 169153886, 30-N-989)
Montgomery Avenue in Rockville, Maryland (NAID 169153890, 30-N-53-1076)


Widening of U.S. 211 near Falls Church, Virginia (NAID 169137874, 30-N-37-2603)
Bus turnout on Mount Vernon Memorial Highway about 1/2 mile north of Alexandria, Virginia (NAID 169142624, 30-N-53-549)
Arlington Memorial Bridge (NAID 169143953, 30-N-45-2244)
Duke Street Overpass on Shirley Highway, Virginia (NAID 169146608, 30-N-52-1263)
Tunnel at Mary’s Rock, Shenandoah National Park (NAID 169147421, 30-N-39-3925)
Toll gate in Amherst County, Virginia near Lynchburg (NAID 205733335, 30-N-18019)
Washington Boulevard and N. Glebe Road, Arlington County, Virginia (NAID 205738814, 30-N-43-2458)
Looking along Fairfax Drive at Intersection with Lee Highway, East Falls Church, Virginia (NAID 205738900, 30-N-49-1140)
Washington Street – looking south from Oronoco Street, in Alexandria, Virginia (NAID 135804947, 30-N-36472)
Alexandria Academy, the first Free School in Alexandria, Virginia (NAID 135805027, 30-N-36510)

The photographs in this series have been digitized and made available via our online catalog. Some of the photographs are from commercial sources that may be under copyright. However, the selected ones for this post do not have any known copyright restrictions.

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