Make No Little Plans
— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —
Completing the Triangle
The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center honoring the 40th president, filled the last open space in the Federal Triangle. When former First Lady Nancy Reagan dedicated it in 1998, the redevelopment of this area of Pennsylvania Avenue, begun by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, was complete. The Reagan Building's 3.1 million square feet of space make it the second-largest federal building. Only the Pentagon is larger.
The only Federal Triangle building with both private and government offices houses the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Customs Service. James Ingo Freed of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, New York, designed the limestone exterior as a modern re-working of its neighbors' neoclassical style. The public is encouraged to explore this landmark building featuring a contemporary soaring atrium; conference, exhibit, and event spaces; and a tribute to President Reagan.
Planners of the Federal Triangle originally envisioned a "Great Plaza" here, designed as a formal French garden. However as the Federal Triangle began to take shape, construction workers parked on the site. Federal employees and their cars soon followed. With war looming in the late 1930s, the government shelved the Great Plaza idea. The parking lot lingered for six decades.
In 1947 President Harry S Truman dedicated a memorial here to diplomat and former Secretary of Commerce Oscar S. Straus (1850-1926). Appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt, Straus was the first Jewish cabinet member. Visible behind you on the plaza, the privately funded memorial by Adolph Weinman displays two cast-bronze sculptures: Liberty of Worship and The Voice of Reason.