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Eastern Market

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1873, Adolph Cluss. 7th St., C St., and North Carolina Ave. SE
  • Eastern Market (Library of Congress)
  • Eastern Market (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Eastern Market (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Eastern Market (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Eastern Market (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Eastern Market (Richard W. Longstreth)

The Eastern Market is one of the few remaining market structures in the old L'Enfant City. L'Enfant envisioned farmers' markets located throughout the city as a focus of commercial activity and as a spur to growth of the surrounding community. Many of these market structures fell victim to development pressures close to the center of the city, the replacement of residential functions with commercial activity, and the development of the supermarkets in outlying areas close to emerging residential areas. The survival of Eastern Market is testimony to the retention of the Capitol Hill neighborhood as a residential enclave. Its power as a commercial node spilled over into a few short blocks of shops along Seventh Street, just north of Pennsylvania Avenue. Architect of many municipal structures in the 1860s and 1870s, German-born Adolph Cluss also was a designer of market structures.

This market is the finest in the city to retain its nineteenth-century architectural integrity. Twenty bays long (180 feet) by five bays deep (50 feet), the one-story brick building has a hip monitor roof covered by gray slate shingles. The market's outstanding characteristic is the adaptation of its brick cladding to its modest Rundbogenstil, or Round Arch style. Narrow bays with doors surmounted by large bull's-eye windows alternate with wider sunken window bays. Common bond is used throughout, implying a veneer over a metal frame. The corbeled brick cornice is supplemented on the three projecting entrance bays by massive, double wood brackets carrying a deep overhanging molded wood cornice. The single-volume interior is miraculously unchanged with its iron bar trusses supporting the exposed roof. The addition on the north dates from 1908. The Eastern Market also reinforces the ornamental red brick character of the surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Eastern Market", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 260-261.

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