Smithsonian Institution Building and The Mall, 1855

ID: MAH-18603 or 18603 or 2004-10647

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: c. 1855

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 67, Folder: 2 and Record Unit 95, Box 30, Folder: 7

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The Smithsonian Institution Building (SIB) seen from downtown Washington, D.C., from across The Mall, around 1855. In the foreground are construction materials along 15th Street, NW for the new wing added in 1855 to the Treasury Building. The Treasury building is the oldest departmental building in Washington, D.C.having been completed in 1842 and expanded three times by 1869. Residential and commercial buildings in the foreground are between 15th and 14th Streets, NW. This area was also known in the 1860s as the red light district called Murder Bay. The canal bordering the Mall before being converted to form Constitution Avenue is the sliver at right center. The white residence at the far left is at the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.


  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • United States Treasury Dept Building


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The original negative number is 18603. The original photograph was re-scanned and given new negative and digital file numbers. For the house at the corner of 15th Street, NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, see James M. Goode's "Capital Losses: A Cultural History of Washington's Destroyed Buildings," pages 142-143. See also Douglas Evelyn and Paul Dickson's "Pinpoint the Past in Washington, D.C.," page 45.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 67, Folder: 2 and Record Unit 95, Box 30, Folder: 7

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


c. 1855

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Washington Canal
  • Construction
  • Street photography
  • Buildings, structures, etc
  • Landscapes
  • Architecture
  • Washington, D.C
  • Buildings--Washington, D.C


  • District of Columbia
  • Northwest
  • Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
  • 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • United States of America
  • Washington (D.C.)
  • Washington


  • Photographic print
  • Landscape
  • Architecture

ID Number

MAH-18603 or 18603 or 2004-10647

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Architectural; Landscape; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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