Image by National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

DC’s 1941 master plan is available through the Library of Congress. Published just months before Pearl Harbor, the plan is a fascinating look at the future pre-war planners envisioned.

The National Mall extends eastward to the bank of the Anacostia and dominates the plan. “Semi-public buildings,” parking garages, and much more highway-like Constitution and Independence Avenues line the new Mall. On the other hand, the Southwest quadrant retains its historic street grid and isn’t cut off by I-395. 

What else jumps out?

We first ran this post a few years ago, but since the history hasn't changed, we wanted to run it again!

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.


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Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado and lives in northeast DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post .