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Visualize D.C.’s past with this cool, new map

This intuitive tool offers 1,900 before-and-after photos of the District’s streets, buildings, churches, and more

Screenshot of Wymer’s DC

Now, whenever people walk down the streets of Washington, D.C., they can take a glimpse at the city’s past, thanks to a new, interactive map, known as Wymer’s DC.

By juxtaposing Google Streetview snapshots with historic photographs taken between 1948 and 1952, Jessica Smith has allowed the public to easily learn about what the city once looked like way back when. Smith, a librarian at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., created the map with help from her husband, Thomas Smith, as a case study for her master's thesis, according to DCist.

Currently, there are 1,900 photos digitized in the map. By the spring of 2018, Smith hopes to complete the project by uploading all 4,000 photos taken by one former D.C. resident, known as John Wymer.

During the 1950s, Wymer was an amateur photographer as well as a statistician for the Bureau of Standards, which is now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

When he set out to take thousands of photos of the streets of D.C., he subdivided the city into 57 sections and focused not only on office buildings, but churches, schools, and other notable sites. With such a large body of work accomplished, Smith told Washingtonian that her coworkers describe his photographs as “Google Street View before there was Google Street View.”

As Smith continues with her work, there are opportunities to help out. To learn how to volunteer, go to the Wymer’s DC website here.

To give the interactive map a whirl, head here.

Wymer’s DC [Official Website]

John Philip Wymer [Wymer’s DC]

Revisit a Washington of the Past With Wymer’s DC [Washingtonian]

This Amazing Map Matches Google Streetview With Historical Images Of D.C. [DCist]