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License plates by Richard Dragon/

From the "Nation's Capital" to today's politically-charged "Taxation Without Representation," take a peek through photographs cataloguing changes in the district's license plates.

1903 and 1907—DC's First License Plates

DC passed its first motor vehicle registration law in 1903—motorists were required to purchase a plate at their own expense. In 1907 the city began producing porcelain white-on-black plates for motorists to purchase for a modest $1 fee. The city didn't charge registration fees until 1918.

Photographs courtesy of

1966 and 1968—"Nation's Capital"

Photographs by Richard Dragon/

The first DC license plate to include a slogan—"The Nation's Capital"—was offered in 1953. This was also the year when plates were made in the familiar 6-by-12-inch shape seen today. Between 1953 and 1966, DC officials experimented with different combinations of letters and numbers for general-issue plates. By 1966 they settled on an all-number format.


Photograph by Richard Dragon/

In 1976, DC officials celebrated the bicentenntial by issuing a new license plate with "1776 Bicentenntial 1976" written across the top. According to, the style template—blue lettering on a white background framed on top and bottom with horizontal red lines—was the first instance of the basic design still used today. The 1976 plate was the second in the nation to be made with graphic reflective sheeting.

1991 and 1998—"A Capital City"

Photos courtesy of Richard Dragon/

Beginning in 1984, the slogan printed on DC plates changed a total of three times: to "A Capital City" in 1984, to "Celebrate & Discover" in 1991, and to "Taxation Without Representation" in 2000. The 2000 "protest" plate was designed to mimic the slogan of British colonists—"no taxation without representation"—just before the American Revolution. The phrase appears on DC license plates in objection to DC representatives being limited to a non-voting role in the House of Representatives.

2003 and 2015—"Taxation Without Representation"

Photograph by Richard Dragon/

Since 2000, U.S. Presidents have alternatively embraced and rejected displaying the plates on presidential vehicles. Toward the end of his term, President Bill Clinton had the new plates affixed to presidential vehicles. President George W. Bush had them removed when he came into office, and President Barack Obama continued to leave them off for his first term. However, in 2013 President Obama had the "Taxation Without Representation" plates once again added to presidential vehicles, noting in a White House press release "how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress."

Posted at 11:20 AM/ET, 10/08/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
With the Capitol clearly in view, these houses exist under the most unsanitary conditions; outside privies, no inside water supply and overcrowded conditions (July 1935). Photograph by Carl Mydans.

Yale University researchers published more photos taken during the Great Depression in America. The photos are all taken between 1935 and 1945, and show what life was like in Washington during America's most difficult economic times. With nearly 6,000 images in the Yale University catalogue of DC, we chose a handful of photos that depict the realities of life in the Washington area during the Great Depression, along with the original captions published by the Farm Security Administration.

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Posted at 01:54 PM/ET, 10/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Vance courtesy of NBC.

We've tracked Jim Vance's evolving hairstyles—from his days as one of the first African American news anchors in the 1970s, all the way up to his acceptance of the Board of Governors award at the 2014 Emmy Awards.

Vance began anchoring for News4 in 1969, sporting an evenly rounded Afro and full mustache. In 1976, when Vance was named "Washingtonian of the Year," his Afro got a little shorter and his mustache grew in fuller. Today, after almost a half century, one of Washington's most popular news anchors is impressing with a classy fade cut and goatee.

In addition to the timeline above, take a look at this article, which includes a fun caricature of Vance and a few archival Washingtonian issues featuring Vance.

This article appears in the October 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 09/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

On Wednesday Pope Francis celebrated the canonization of Junípero Serra--the first canonization on US soil. Here are some scenes from inside and outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Photograph by Andrew Propp.
Photograph by Andrew Propp.
Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

Posted at 05:11 PM/ET, 09/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Nuns tailgate at Catholic University. Photograph by Diane Rice.

During his first full day in Washington, Pope Francis has met President Obama at the White House, participated in a parade down Constitution Avenue, and prayed with US bishops at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle. (You can see his schedule here.) Washingtonian photographers and reporters are out documenting the pope's visit; we'll keep updating this post with what they see. (You can follow us on Instagram, too.)

Pope Francis waves to followers during his parade. Photograph by Patrick Thornton.
People start lining up at 4 am to see Pope Francis. Photograph by Patrick Thornton.
A child waits for Pope Francis to make his way down Constitution Ave. towards her. Photograph by Patrick Thornton.
A child waves to Pope Francis as he made his way down Constitution Ave. Photograph by Patrick Thornton.
Setup at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
At 12:30, the line to get in to the basilica was already several blocks long. Photograph by Benjamin Freed.
The Washingtonian photo team made it to the Basilica! And, of course, we brought along our Pope Francis bobblehead to help prepare for the pope's first mass in America. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
Venders peddle Pope-related memorabilia on 14th Street. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
A nun from Georgetown Visitation tailgates at Saint Mary's Shrine prior to the Pope's arrival. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Nuns wait in the security line to get on Catholic University's campus for the papal mass. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Pope Francis arrives at the Basilica, ready to deliver his first ever U.S. Mass. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
The Pope greets attendees of the canonization mass as he enters the Basilica. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Inside the Basilica, celebrating Mass. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
The bishops sit together at Mass. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
The choir sings inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
Mass-goers watch the Pope on large TV screens. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
(Left) Sisters kneel in prayer; (right) A volunteer receives communion. Photographs by Jeff Elkins.
Mass attendees sing hymns. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
(Left) People hold up their phones to snap photos of the Pope as he walks though the Basilica; (right) The alter is set for the canonization mass. Photographs by Jeff Elkins.

Posted at 04:13 PM/ET, 09/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Pope Francis can drink for free, apparently. By Washingtonian Staff
Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Pope Francis’ visit to DC has proven inspirational to many members of Washington’s business community. Have you seen any great signs? Tweet them to us @washingtonian.

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Posted at 03:21 PM/ET, 09/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
All photographs by Andrew Propp.

Posted at 04:53 PM/ET, 09/22/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Washingtonian hosted a reception honoring the Top Doctors featured in the September issue.

Washingtonian celebrated the 2015 Top Doctors cover story and honorees on Thursday, September 10 at Long View Gallery. Over 350 guests indulged in creative fare such as heart beet macarons, rolling nurses stations serving Korean tacos, and blood pressure shooters by RSVP Catering. Guests could try delicious adult smoothies, provided by Travelling Bean and enjoy sweet treats by District Desserts in the Privia Medical Group lounge. Party-goers relaxed in the Wells Fargo lounge while sipping on coffee and devouring money-themed cookies. At the end of the event, guests took home faux Washingtonian covers provided by Washington Talent Agency as well as reusable bags with a wine key from Privia Medical Group.

Special thanks to our partners: PreCon Events, Sweet Root Village, MJ Valet and Chris Laich Music Services.

All photographs by Jeff Elkins.

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Posted at 03:14 PM/ET, 09/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Rent has gone up some, too.

Do you remember your first salary? Your first monthly rent? These Washingtonians do. Take a walk down memory lane with some prominent DC residents as they remember their first job, salary, and rent.

Back in the Day


"Back in the Day" interviews were conducted by editorial fellows Sarah Ehlen, Jackson Knapp, Sarah Lindner, Josh Rosenblat, and Harrison Smith. Illustrations by Jeffrey Everett.

This article appears in our October 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 12:33 PM/ET, 09/10/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Washingtonian hosted a reception honoring the Top Real Estate Agents featured in the July issue.
Jessica Evans, Justin Levitch, Jason Sherman, and Will Wiard.

Washingtonian hosted a reception at Ping Pong Dim Sum in Chinatown honoring the Top Real Estate Agents featured in the July issue. More than 350 guests enjoyed a variety of hors d’oeuvres including pork and chive pretzel potstickers, crispy eggplant, and edamame truffle dumplings, as well as tasty cold blue martinis and basil and melon lemonade cocktails. Event sponsor MVB Mortgage hosted a lounge where guests could relax and enjoy chicken satay sliders, honey roasted chicken puffs, and delicious chocolate and sesame donuts. At the conclusion of the event, guests took home faux Washingtonian covers provided by Washington Talent Agency, beautiful calligraphy by Meant To Be Calligraphy, and Monarch Title and MVB Mortgage branded cookies by District Desserts.

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Posted at 09:52 AM/ET, 08/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()