You are here

East Capitol Street Car Barn

-A A +A
1896, Waddy B. Wood. 1983, Martin and Jones. 1400 East Capitol St.
  • East Capitol Street Car Barn (Franz Jantzen)

A tour de force in brick, the East Capitol Street Car Barn demonstrates that an essentially industrial structure can exist in harmony with its residential surroundings. The Car Barn, located at the terminus of the Metropolitan Railroad Company's streetcar lines, was intended as a storage shed for the streetcars, a repair shop, and administrative offices for the streetcar company. The construction of this substantial car barn testifies to the successful electrification, with a conduit system, of Washington's rapid transit system. It was constructed seven years after congressional legislation required Washington trolley companies to operate by mechanical means rather than by animal traction. A narrow office structure measuring 433 feet long by 46 feet wide occupies the south side of the block, while sheds and shops were located to the north side. Today, only the walls of the shed and shops survive, which enclose and form the framework for modern low-rise apartment houses constructed to resemble town houses. The firm of Martin and Jones designed the conversion of the office structure to the new apartments.

The most compelling element of the Car Barn is the original office structure, running along East Capitol Street NE, between 14th and 15th streets. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, its massing is classical in inspiration and its brickwork among the most elaborate in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A central pavilion is linked to two end pavilions at the corners of the block with long hyphens. The main pavilion rises three stories, is crowned with a steep mansard roof, and is flanked by two-story square towers with mansard roofs. Panels of brick diaperwork formed of glazed headers encircle the frieze line of the pavilion and towers. A circular arch marks the entrance to the pavilion. The end pavilions are downsized versions of the central pavilion.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "East Capitol Street Car Barn", [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, 269-269.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.