Click on the images to bring up the interactive maps for zooming and scrolling. To orient yourself, South Capitol Street at far left, the 11th Street Bridges to the right, and the SE Freeway forms the northern barrier. You might want to use your browser's Full-Screen Mode (F11) to better compare two photos at once.
Near Southeast in 1949 (grainy and not 100% properly aligned), from Google Earth's historical images:
The density of buildings at the Navy Yard (which at this time ran all the way to First Street SE across the footprint of what is now the Yards) is the most remarkable feature, as is the lack of a Southeast Freeway, and just one 11th Street Bridge span, and apparently an under-construction bridge at South Capitol Street. The old storage building at South Capitol and O that was demolished in 2006 to make way for Nationals Park is there, as is the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, the buildings on the WASA site, and the trash transfer station at New Jersey and K. (And note that on the north side of Virginia Avenue Second Street bisects Garfield Park.) The Carrollsburg Dwellings between Third and Fourth streets are there, but not the additional Capper buildings along the Canal Park site and also east of Fifth. No Star/Post plant at 225 Virginia, either.
Nearly 40 years later, in 1988, from Microsoft's TerraServer. Many of the buildings that existed at the Navy Yard have been torn down, while other landmarks of Near Southeast are now visible.
The 2002 version, from Google Maps, shows the first wave of changes. From left to right: the arrival of the trash transfer garage at 1st and N and the Public Self Storage building on South Capitol, 80 M (completed in 2001), demolition of buildings owned by the Washington Star at 2nd and Virginia, initial demolition of buildings on the Capitol Hill Tower site, the initial work at 1100 New Jersey, 300 M (completed in 2001), demolition of four buildings at the Southeast Federal Center, the renovation/expansion at the Navy Yard, the demolition of two Capper apartment buildings along Virginia Ave. and 7th Street, and the completion of Maritime Plaza I and beginning of Maritime Plaza II just east of the 11th Street Bridges.
A May 2004 version, from a source I cannot speak of. The next wave of changes can be seen here. From left to right: the completion of 1100 New Jersey, the start of construction at Capitol Hill Tower/Courtyard by Marriott and at the US Department of Transportation HQ, the demolition of the old Capper building at Fifth and Virginia, the nearly completed Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, and the completion of Maritime Plaza II.
The 2005 version, from MapQuest, showing (from left to right): the beginnings of excavation at 20 M, the continuing construction of Capitol Hill Tower/Courtyard by Marriott and DOT, the completion of demolition of the first ribbon at Capper/Carrollsburg, the start of work on Capper Seniors #1, and the completed Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters.
An image from Fall 2006 (September-October-ish), from Microsoft Live Search, showing (from left to right): the cleared site and early construction work at Nationals Park, the under-construction 20 M, excavations at 70/100 I and 100 M/Onyx on First, the finished Capitol Hill Tower, the nearly completed DOT, demolition of the second ribbon at Capper/Carrollsburg between Third and Fourth streets, construction of 400 M Street/Capper Building #2, and the completed Capper Seniors #1.
A view from November 2006 (not long after the previous image), from MapQuest, showing the progress in just a few weeks on Nationals Park and the start of demolition on the second final buildings at Capper/Carrollsburg between Second and Third streets.
The first post-ballpark image, from spring 2008 (probably May or very late April judging by the progress of the 1015 Half Street hole), from Google, showing the high-water mark of Near Southeast's reconstruction in a mere 18 months since the previous image (not highlighted because there's too many things to mark!). From left: the streetscape changes to South Capitol Street and the lowered Douglass Bridge, demolition at 1325 South Capitol, the completed Nationals Park, Monument's Half Street progress, all sorts of new surface parking lots at The Yards and Capper, JPI's 70/100 I and 909 New Jersey, the Velocity block, Onyx and 100 M, the parking lot in place of the demolished old Capper Seniors, and more. (And it must be a weekend, judging by all those empty parking lots!)
The August 2010 image, from Google, showing considerable changes from the 2008 image, even during a time of recession. From left: 1015 Half is topped out, Velocity, 70/100 I, 55 M, 909 New Jersey, Onyx, and 100 M all have been completed. Diamond Teague Piers and the Yards Park are clearly visible, as is the lack of school buses on the Canal Park site. And the first phase of Capitol Quarter is complete. Lastly, at far right, the construction of the new 11th Street Bridges and the reconfiguration of the approaches and flyovers can be seen.
The latest image available, from October 2012, from Google, with plenty of change, even if most of it was publicly financed. The brief-lived rain garden at Velocity and the clearing of the concrete plant at Florida Rock are the only changes west of 1st Street. The Anacostia Riverwalk's new bridge between Teague Park and Yards Park is visible, as are the additions of landscaping on the east end of the Yards Park since the last image. The Foundry Lofts renovation is complete, as is the 225 Virginia/200 I rebuild at the top of the photo. Canal Park is almost finished, and the final demolition of the DPW/Trash Transfer station on New Jersey Avenue is just underway, pegging the date of this photo right near October 6, 2012. (The tents at Yards Park could also make it Oct. 13, the day of Snallygaster.) The second phase of Capitol Quarter is just completed, while the demolition at 7th and Virginia of the Miles Glass building and its easern neighbor are shown as well. And, at far right, one can see all the work surrounding the new 11th Street Bridges--and the disappearance of the old ones.