Rendering of the IRS Building, 1934:
The plans for the Federal Triangle called for the creation of the world's largest government building complex. Construction started in 1927 on the Internal Revenue Building in front of you. The final phase required the removal of the Old Post Office, but project funds were cut during the Depression.
Rendering of the Great Circle, c 1929:
The land between Pennsylvania Avenue and newly widened Constitution Avenue was seen as a clean slate upon which to design anew. The architects assumed that the Old Post Office would be torn down. Their aim was to create a unified complex organized around open courts like the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Westward View of the Federal Triangle, c 1940:
As the 1930s drew to a close, the Federal Triangle was heralded by its builders as the greatest public works project ever undertaken. The Triangle stands today as the last-great expression of the Beaux Arts style, introduced to America at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.
The Unfinished IRS Building, 1934-1993:
Common brick walls were left exposed at two ends of the IRS Building, awaiting the day when renewed funding would allow the Old Post Office to be torn down and the Great Circle completed.
The Incomplete Great Circle, c 1934:
Evidence of the never-to-be-completed Great Circle remains visible from 12th Street, behind the Old Post Office. The unfinished walls remained until 1993, when they were clad in the limestone you see before you.