Washingtonians at Play

Unchanging pastimes in a changing dc

Pool Game at Idle Hour Pool Hall, 1940-1950

Life’s stresses require an antidote: a hangout, a hobby, a way to relax. The men shooting pool in this photo from the late 1940s are both young and old, but their faces share a common ease. They are clearly in their element, in this case, the Idle Hour Pool Hall on U Street. A Howard University study of African-American recreation in the early 20th century ranked pool halls as second only to barber shops as oases of conversation: “To its patrons [the pool hall] is of more significance than the newspaper, since events and matters of interest are discussed here which never reach the press.” If only photos could talk.


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