Then & Now: Library of Congress

You might not realize how much Washington DC has changed until you look back and see what it looked like in the past. In this “Then & Now” feature, I have combined one of Lewis Reed’s original photograph’s for “then” and matched it with a corresponding contemporary shot for “now”.

Library of Congress (THEN): The Library of Congress was relocated to Washington, DC, in 1800, having previously been housed in New York and Philadelphia, which had each served as temporary capitals of the early United States of America. It is the research library serving the U.S. Congress as well as the national library of the United States, and it holds over 23 million volumes in its collection, making it the world’s largest library. The structure as it stands today was erected between 1888 and 1894, following the 1851 fire that destroyed 35,000 of the Library’s books (two-thirds of its holdings at that time), including much of Thomas Jefferson’s donated collection.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. 1910

Library of Congress (NOW): The same view 108 years later. Now, the Library of Congress is one of the largest and best-equipped libraries in the world. It houses approximately 90 million items on 540 miles of shelves.  The Library of Congress is physically housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill and a conservation center in rural Virginia. The Library’s Capitol Hill buildings are all connected by underground passageways, so that a library user need pass through security only once in a single visit.

Library of Congress

Library of Congress today

Source: Wikipedia

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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

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