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Riggs National Bank, Chevy Chase Branch (Chevy Chase Savings Bank)

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Chevy Chase Savings Bank
1926–1927, Arthur B. Heaton. 5530 Connecticut Ave. NW
  • Riggs National Bank, Chevy Chase Branch (Chevy Chase Savings Bank) (Franz Jantzen)
  • Riggs National Bank (National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Heaton's slightly angled two adjacent main facades hint at the disparity between their highly regularized organization and the irregularity of the site for this lovely Neo-Renaissance bank. The tall arch of the entrance (now shorn of its original elaborate white marble door frame) is replicated for the side fenestration, now almost double its original length. The bank's architectural qualities are dependent upon the combination of finely tuned proportions, exquisite workmanship and detailing, and excellent materials. The base of polished black marble is nearly hidden by plantings; pink- and creamveined sandstone walls sawn to a smooth surface are particularly striking. Exaggerated voussoirs above the arched openings lock into the uniformly rectangular blocks of stone contributing to Heaton's tightly composed facades, a refinement not carried out when the bank was extended. Relief sculpted profile portraits of George Washington and Pierre Charles L'Enfant in rondels set high on the front facade indicate the nature and intensity of the nostalgic historicism that swept Washington during the early twentieth century. The image of Washington is genuine, but that of L'Enfant is ersatz, as no portrait of the city's designer was known at the time.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


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Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Riggs National Bank, Chevy Chase Branch (Chevy Chase Savings Bank)", [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, 378-378.

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