The Age of the Automobile

Today, visitors along 14th Street will not see the car repair shops and small dealerships that once proliferated the area. These ghosts are echoes from the early years of the automobile in Washington, DC. According to the 1997 Greater Fourteenth Street and Logan Circle brochure:

Between the 1870s and 1880s, grocers, dealers in dry goods, fancy goods and coal, carpenters, druggists, confectioners, retailers, tin smiths, and boot and shoemakers all competed for business along the 14th Street corridor… But the machine age and its new form of transportation required new structures for the storage and display of automobiles. In 1898, the first car sales shop was opened by Rudolph Jose at 1614 14th Street, NW, where he distributed the Kensington Electric Car. Many Victorian residential and commercial buildings were razed in the first decade of the century to make room for more prominent garages and automobile showrooms as 14th Street evolved from an important 19th Century streetcar line to “Automobile Row


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