I love these old photos of Anacostia. They show a vitality and a life that we really want to regain, but are also a sad reminder of the architectural heritage lost as a result of so many demolitions. Unfortunately, most of the clapboard-sided commercial buildings are now gone, with only the brick ones remaining.
1900 Block of MLK, c. 1910
Below is the exact same view today. What is interesting is that 1913 MLK (fourth building from the left, above), although brick underneath, was once covered in wood clapboard siding to match its neighbors.
the leftmost building is 1913 MLK
While I try to not idealize the past and solely wish the neighborhood could look exactly like it did a hundred years ago, there's something to be said for the unique look of Anacostia that is more and more forgotten with each demolition. There's a certain fancifulness that has been lost, and, at least on our commercial corridors, a threadbare architectural heritage that we must vigorously fight to preserve.
...and yes, I am kind of obsessed with this block.
old photo courtesy of the National Photo Company Collection (edited by DG-rad)