Photo Friday: Vermont Avenue Then and Now, Washington, DC USA

1900Vermont 00001 160402-Edit
1900Vermont 00001 160402-Edit (View on

This is a composite of several photos. One from the late 1990’s (maybe the year 2000?) from the Library of Congress Archive, combined with two other photographs from present day (2016).

They show a concrete and less-filled-with-hope Vermont, Avenue, with one that’s more green, and not yet grown into its sustainable self.

The photo is super high resolution (part of the historical building survey); if you click through to Flickr, you can see much more detail, including the DC Ambulance parked in front of the then headquarters of DC EMS (see: The future of LGBTQ rights was born here, too: Vermont Avenue and the Death of Tyra Hunter ).

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the areas around Vermont Avenue show a city that was losing hope as it experienced a significant population decline. This photograph taken by Michael Horseley from a block away in 1987 tells that story (Note the construction of Metro happening in the background): Adair’s Inn | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Another block away, the Anthony Bowen YMCA, the place where Thurgood Marshall changed the educational system forever, was also neglected:

Anthony Bowen YMCA, 1979
Anthony Bowen YMCA, 1979 (View on

Both the photo above and this one below are extremely high quality – if you go to flickr and zoom in, you can see some of the features of a city devastated and trying to recover.

Aerial View Vermont and U
Aerial View Vermont and U (View on

For a long time, I thought Vermont Avenue was a street in the middle of my way to get somewhere else. Now I know it’s where the future was born, from Abraham Lincoln to the African American civil rights movement to Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence to …. and will probably be born again, and again, as happens in Washington, DC.

Did I mention that I can’t believe I get to live here? 🙂

Note: Taking a little diversion into Washington, DC (one of the three foci of this blog) and specifically Vermont Avenue, concluding with this post.

If you live in Washington, DC and want to be a part of this history, please join us this weekend as we plant Vermont Avenue, Northwest.

Ted Eytan, MD