Photo Friday: “This Was an Awful Day,” April, 1968 Diaries of Gerald “G.I.” Sawyer, Washington, DC USA

2018.05.15 DC1968 Workshop, DCHistory, Washington, DC USA 02341
2018.05.15 DC1968 Workshop, DCHistory, Washington, DC USA 02341 (View on Flickr.com)

Thanks to the Washington, DC Historical Society for hosting a workshop on understanding #dc1968. The photograph above is from the original diary of Gerald “G.I.” Sawyer, famed engineer and designer of well known Washington, DC transportation landmarks, some appreciated, some maligned.

One of the most controversial was the never built Three Sisters Bridge, which from my read represented unwanted incursion of massive transportation projects into the Washington, DC of the 1960’s.

An example of this is the Shaw/Logan Circle neighborhoods, which were intended for large scale demolition, and have thankfully survived. Here’s an image of the freeway that was scheduled to obliterate this part of our nation’s capital, from the excellent PDP Project exhibit, also part of #dc1968:

2018.04.01 Pilot District Project 1968-1973, National Building 4787
2018.04.01 Pilot District Project 1968-1973, National Building 4787 (View on Flickr.com)

Noting in the above the entry that the awful day was not the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, it was the day the city burned, a sign of the frustration felt and not felt by then-society.

DC1968

I highly recomment following the @dc1968project twitter feed and website to understand the entire year much better.

There were additional materials pulled for us to view at the workshop; however, the Historical Society of Washington, DC is unable to assign rights so they are not included here. The materials included a collection of amazing photographs of the city burning as well as a city in shock, pretending that it wasn’t destroyed, which we now know is the result.

Being a History Geek

I also learned that Darrell C. Crain, of the Darrell C. Crain Photography collection, was also a physician (a rheumatologist) as well as an amateur photographer. Geeks unite, and I’m going to dive in…

Additional photos below, enjoy, and thanks again to the Historical Society of Washington, DC.

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