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Municipal Center

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1934–1941, Nathan C. Wyeth. 4th to 6th streets, Indiana Ave. to C St. NW

The Municipal Center is a grouping of District of Columbia government buildings flanking John Marshall Place. The creation of a municipal center in the 1930s, far from the District Building at 1350 E Street NW, resulted from the dedication of the entire Federal Triangle project to federal government functions. Municipal Center's design retained a vista along John Marshall Place between Pennsylvania Avenue and Hadfield's City Hall, a configuration provided for in L'Enfant's Plan for the capital city. The central plaza broadened the vista and placed Municipal Center on a terraced court below Judiciary Square. The original scheme called for both municipal office buildings and a central public library.

The first two buildings to be constructed were the East and West buildings, both facing the Central Plaza. From a pink granite base, limestone walls rise six stories, with setbacks at the top three stories. The walls of the facade consist of recessed vertical strips of windows, separated at each floor with ornamental spandrels. Announcing the main entrance are three-story porticos supported by four square piers, each of which is incised to suggest column capitals.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Municipal Center", [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, 182-183.

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