This postcard from 1913 shows the Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue. The building in the left foreground is the old Botanic Garden conservatory, with the Bartholdi Fountain between it and Pennsylvania Avenue. Business and residential buildings are still standing between 3rd and 4th Streets where the National Gallery of Art is today. Beyond them is the dome of the National Museum of Natural History and the Washington Monument. 

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

This postcard from 1913 shows the Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue. The building in the left foreground is the old Botanic Garden conservatory, with the Bartholdi Fountain between it and Pennsylvania Avenue. Business and residential buildings are still standing between 3rd and 4th Streets where the National Gallery of Art is today. Beyond them is the dome of the National Museum of Natural History and the Washington Monument. 

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


Olmsted Jr. was a landscape architect appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to serve on the Senate Park Commission in 1901. The Commission was charged with improving the Mall’s design and restoring elements of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s original plan. Olmsted Jr. established himself after apprenticing with his father, Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect famous for building New York’s Central Park. While working for the Commission, Olmsted Jr. was responsible for designing the landscape and parks system for the Mall. Throughout his life, he remained committed to national and civic parks across the US.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Olmsted Jr. was a landscape architect appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to serve on the Senate Park Commission in 1901. The Commission was charged with improving the Mall’s design and restoring elements of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s original plan. Olmsted Jr. established himself after apprenticing with his father, Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect famous for building New York’s Central Park. While working for the Commission, Olmsted Jr. was responsible for designing the landscape and parks system for the Mall. Throughout his life, he remained committed to national and civic parks across the US.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


In July 1790, when Congress approved the establishment of a federal capital on the Potomac River, the area they chose was already owned by people who lived and farmed there. President George Washington and other government officials negotiated with these proprietors to convince them to sell or donate the land to the United States. In March 1791 fifteen proprietors signed an agreement that sold half of their property to the government, while they kept the rights to the other half, which allowed the city to develop while residents kept their homes. Formal deeds of transfer were registered in December 1791.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

In July 1790, when Congress approved the establishment of a federal capital on the Potomac River, the area they chose was already owned by people who lived and farmed there. President George Washington and other government officials negotiated with these proprietors to convince them to sell or donate the land to the United States. In March 1791 fifteen proprietors signed an agreement that sold half of their property to the government, while they kept the rights to the other half, which allowed the city to develop while residents kept their homes. Formal deeds of transfer were registered in December 1791.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


Built between 1832 and 1833, the Lockkeeper’s House was the home of the toll keeper who collected tolls from those traveling along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Extension. Some accounts report that a resident lockkeeper and his family of 13 children shared the living quarters. The Extension, connecting the C&O Canal to the Washington City Canal, was filled in during the 1870s, as rail shipping eventually replaced canal shipping. The National Park Service acquired the house in the early 1900s, and since then it has been used as an administration building and for storage.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Built between 1832 and 1833, the Lockkeeper’s House was the home of the toll keeper who collected tolls from those traveling along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Extension. Some accounts report that a resident lockkeeper and his family of 13 children shared the living quarters. The Extension, connecting the C&O Canal to the Washington City Canal, was filled in during the 1870s, as rail shipping eventually replaced canal shipping. The National Park Service acquired the house in the early 1900s, and since then it has been used as an administration building and for storage.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


The summer outdoor film festival “Screen on the Green” on the National Mall began in 1999. Held at sundown throughout July and August, this free event is one of the most popular social and recreational events held on the Mall among locals and visitors alike. The films shown that first summer were Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, King Kong, and Rebel without a Cause.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

The summer outdoor film festival “Screen on the Green” on the National Mall began in 1999. Held at sundown throughout July and August, this free event is one of the most popular social and recreational events held on the Mall among locals and visitors alike. The films shown that first summer were Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, King Kong, and Rebel without a Cause.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


Mary Ann Hall’s brothel was the largest and most luxurious of more than 100 known bordellos in Washington during the 1800s. Hall’s three-story establishment stood where the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is today. According to Union Army records, she employed 18 women. Archaeological excavations indicate that Hall imported French wine and champagne for her clients. She ran her establishment until 1883, dying in 1886 with a net worth of $87,000. Although Washington police frequently harassed and arrested prostitutes, the profession remained legal in DC until 1914.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Mary Ann Hall’s brothel was the largest and most luxurious of more than 100 known bordellos in Washington during the 1800s. Hall’s three-story establishment stood where the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is today. According to Union Army records, she employed 18 women. Archaeological excavations indicate that Hall imported French wine and champagne for her clients. She ran her establishment until 1883, dying in 1886 with a net worth of $87,000. Although Washington police frequently harassed and arrested prostitutes, the profession remained legal in DC until 1914.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


Located within President’s Park on the National Mall, the Second Division Memorial is dedicated to those members of the Second Infantry Division of the US army who have died while in service. Originally dedicated in 1936 by President Franklin Roosevelt, the memorial honored service in World War I. The flaming sword at the memorial’s center represents the defense of Paris from German forces during that conflict. In 1962, two wings were added to the memorial to represent service in World War II and the Korean War.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Located within President’s Park on the National Mall, the Second Division Memorial is dedicated to those members of the Second Infantry Division of the US army who have died while in service. Originally dedicated in 1936 by President Franklin Roosevelt, the memorial honored service in World War I. The flaming sword at the memorial’s center represents the defense of Paris from German forces during that conflict. In 1962, two wings were added to the memorial to represent service in World War II and the Korean War.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

During the 1800s the White House was much more accessible than it is today and informal social events were often held at the executive mansion. In this photo, a group is picnicking on the White House grounds with the Treasury Department building visible in the background. Unlike today, this area has the look of a forest with many large trees. Before the McMillan Commission’s redesign of the Mall in 1902 the area was a series of meandering paths, gardens, and dense trees.
Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

During the 1800s the White House was much more accessible than it is today and informal social events were often held at the executive mansion. In this photo, a group is picnicking on the White House grounds with the Treasury Department building visible in the background. Unlike today, this area has the look of a forest with many large trees. Before the McMillan Commission’s redesign of the Mall in 1902 the area was a series of meandering paths, gardens, and dense trees.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.


Although most of the office buildings constructed on the Mall to house war department offices during World War I and II had been removed by the 1960s, a row of buildings from 1918 still stood in the space between Constitution Avenue and the Reflecting Pool. In 1969 President Nixon ordered these buildings demolished, to be replaced with parkland more in keeping with the rest of the Mall. On July 15, 1970, Naval officers and government officials held a demolition ceremony, watching as the wrecking ball took its first swing at the walls. By December, the buildings were gone.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.

Although most of the office buildings constructed on the Mall to house war department offices during World War I and II had been removed by the 1960s, a row of buildings from 1918 still stood in the space between Constitution Avenue and the Reflecting Pool. In 1969 President Nixon ordered these buildings demolished, to be replaced with parkland more in keeping with the rest of the Mall. On July 15, 1970, Naval officers and government officials held a demolition ceremony, watching as the wrecking ball took its first swing at the walls. By December, the buildings were gone.

Learn more at Histories of the National Mall.