DC -- Penn Qtr -- Washington Bldg (15th and G St, NW):
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Description of Subject Matter: From https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/what-was-the-washington-building/2011/10/28/gIQA21sHTM_story.html
What was the Washington Building?
By John Kelly October 29, 2011
In the 1970s, I worked in the Washington Building at 15th and New York NW. Not until years later did I notice its frieze more carefully. It depicts various graphics that have me curious about the building’s original purpose and tenants. Was it ever a federal building or that of a national trade association? When recently in the area, I was surprised at how difficult it is to even find an open-to-the-public entrance.
— Kathleen O’Reilly,
There are many Washington buildings, but there is only one Washington Building. It opened in 1927 at a place its owners liked to call “The World Corner.” Fifteenth Street and New York Avenue NW, they claimed in a large display ad in The Washington Post, was an intersection of global importance.
“Indeed,” the ad trumpeted, “a great national weekly magazine states that more prominent people pass this corner than any other in the world. Its strategic location is as permanent as the Treasury, as vital as the White House.”
The building was designed by the Boston firm of Coolidge Shepley Bulfinch and Abbott. The design is “stylized Classical Revival,” with large, three-story arches and fluted piers. It is ringed by what Answer Man considers a rather subtle frieze, given the expanse of limestone it decorates.
The frieze is made up of a repeating series of individual circular bas-reliefs. Some are easily recognizable. There is a telephone, the kind with a separate mouthpiece (old-fashioned now but cutting-edge then). There is a sheaf of wheat. There is the head of a bull and a piece of lab equipment known as a retort. Other details include an hourglass, a lever, a torch atop an open book, and what appears to be an urn or possibly a pharmacist’s vessel.
Answer Man is pretty sure these had no connection to specific Washington Building tenants. Rathe ...More...
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2019_DC_Wash_Bldg: DC -- Penn Qtr -- Washington Bldg (15th and G St, NW) (1 photos from 2019)
2016_DC_Wash_Bldg: DC -- Penn Qtr -- Washington Bldg (15th and G St, NW) (10 photos from 2016)
2008_DC_Wash_Bldg: DC -- Penn Qtr -- Washington Bldg (15th and G St, NW) (8 photos from 2008)
2007_DC_Wash_Bldg: DC -- Penn Qtr -- Washington Bldg (15th and G St, NW) (4 photos from 2007)
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2020 photos: The year is too new to have anything to report. The Covid-19 disaster cut off most events here in DC after March 11 and even cut off going outside after awhile. Here's hoping honesty and integrity wins for a change this November.