Just discovered the research site of the Historical Society of Washington, DC. The Society allows users to search by a number of parameters for historical documents held by its library. Of particular interest is the ability to search based on a city block. As a bonus, a select few photographs are actually made available online. Including this gem:
According to the Society, this photo depicts "View southeast down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 6th Street to the (unfinished) Capitol." Which places the cameraman directly in front of my (Newseum) building sometime between 1861 and 1862. Whoa.
UPDATE: Some more fantastic pics of my block:
According to the Society: "North side of 500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. 1939. National Guard Armory and Atlas Hotel (in the old National Hotel). Weightman's Row, six houses built by Roger Weightman (later mayor of Washington) in 1816, was sold in 1826 to become the National Hotel (managed by John Gadsby), becoming the best in the city, visited by such as Charles Dickens. Enlarged and remodeled in 1844, the hotel's guests included Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay (who died there in 1852), James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Stephens. The hotel was remodeled again in 1857 and had a major fire in 1921, by which time its popularity had signicantly reduced. Bought by the city in 1929, the building was used as the D.C. Armory. (In 1941, it became a World War II Selective Service System office, and was destroyed in 1942.)"
According to the Society: "1860. General view southeast down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 6th Street past the National Hotel, to the Capitol, dome under construction. Watercolor painting by A. Meyer."
According to the Society: "1923 - 1927. The National Hotel on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street NW."
According to the Society: "1900 - 1909. National Hotel on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street NW; view to Capitol."
According to the Society: "1940 - 1942. Long line of customers around the National Hotel on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street NW, waiting for D.C. Automobile Tags."
According to the Society: "1961 - 1962. General view southeast down Pennsylvavia Avenue NW from the 600 block. To the Capitol. Includes, in the 500 block, the D.C. Employment Services Building (under construction) and, adjoining, the D.C. Public Library Administrative Office."
According to the Society: "1889. View northeast down Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 6th Street during flood of 1889 (?). To the Capitol."
UPDATE 2: Cleaned up the captions just a bit. Sorry about all the redundancies.