The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: DRAINSPOTTING


Photo by Emily Girard.

This week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge: Go long and create a story, news article, or other piece of longform writing. Break up the sections of your posts, or chapters within a story, by using the NextPage tool.


On a recent visit to Washington, DC, I found myself looking down at the ground rather than up, as I usually do, at monuments and government buildings and old row houses. And who can I credit for my subsequent stiff neck this rainy Monday morning? None other than my beloved husband.

What had capture my attention and my camera’s lens? Manhole covers. Yes, you read that correctly,

Man. Hole. Covers.

It started out with a decrepit looking cover from 1913 on a sidewalk in south DC. My husband was immediately enamored. “Look how old this thing is,” Robbie said.

“Uh huh,” I said, not looking in his direction. Often this will suffice when my history-buff husband’s eye wanders to some seemingly trivial historical tidbit.

“No look, Em. This would make a cool picture,” he said, intoning the magic word “picture,” effective as I had been playing with our new family camera, snapping shots of flowers all weekend. Honestly, I think he was sick of the flowers. (See for the flowers) So I humored him, and I looked.

Have you ever really considered a manhole cover, a common street and sidewalk ornament that you can find in just about every modern metropolitan scene and beyond?  For 40 years I’ve driven over and traipsed across them, never a second thought given to these gateways to the city’s under-workings.

And although I initially did it just to humor my sweet husband, what followed was a photo-gathering adventure followed by some in-depth research into the form and function of the manhole cover. And a history lesson for this history buff-less writer.

9 thoughts on “The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: DRAINSPOTTING

      • oops, wrong post! I took these pictures, and I thank you so much for the compliment. I took some during the day and went back and took some once it got dark, so the flash would bring out the dates. I felt like a regular journalist!

  1. Weirdly, I often look at manhole covers as I love seeing how old they are and wondering if the company still exists!
    Really cool how you used the dates on the manhole covers you found to give us a little American history. That would be a great project for school kids I reckon.

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