Blagden Alley, 1923, Courtesy of Shorpy.com

Alley Life in Washington DC

In another post that I wrote about Washington DC maps from the 1920s, I featured a plate from a survey atlas that showed Blagden Alley and Shepherd Alley. This time I’ve chosen to explore more about alley life in Washington DC in the 1920s.

Alley Life in Washington DC Blind Alleys, 1920s

Blagden Alley was one of the most infamous of the “blind” alleys. This means that it had dark corners and dead ends in which nefarious activities could take place, and typically only had one way in and out. Social workers and the government focused mainly on the “blind” alleys when Washington DC tried to reform alley life in the early 1900s. The featured photo (and others that I found on the very cool Shorpy blog) gives you a good idea of what it must have been like. Compared to the wider streets and grand avenues of Washington, the alleys are narrow and confining.
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Blagden and Shepherd Alley - Washington DC, 1920

Washington DC 1920s Maps

Reason # 27 why I heart the Internet:

The maps. Oh, the maps…

Especially the one featured from Washington DC in the 1920s. It’s from a survey done by “G. Wm. Baist, Wm. E., & H.V. Baist, surveyors” and is amazing.

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