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Adolph Cluss’s best buildings in D.C., mapped

From the Franklin School to Eastern Market, take a look at some of this architect’s most memorable designs

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Only 10 percent of architect Adolph Cluss’s buildings have survived the passage of time, and so many of them are not only well-known, but well-searched for. Cluss is certainly not one of the District’s more familiar architects, but his impact can be seen with buildings like Eastern Market in Capitol Hill and the Arts & Industries Building on the National Mall.

For a comprehensive guide to every building, both standing and demolished, that was designed by Cluss, head to this website dedicated to him. For a quick look at some of his most noteworthy buildings, check out Curbed DC’s map below.

For a look at another of D.C.’s famous architects, check out this map of John Russell Pope’s most famous buildings.

Note: The mapped points have been ordered geographically, from the most north to the most south.

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1. Eastern Market

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225 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Constructed in 1873, Eastern Market is one of Washington, D.C.’s most coveted and historic food halls. It was designed with advanced lighting and ventilation as well as basement meat coolers. When it opened, there were 80 booths that sold meat, vegetables, and other food products to the public. The building was expanded with two halls in 1908 by municipal architect Snowden Ashford.

In the mid-twentieth century, attendance to the grocery chain declined until the D.C. government considered selling the building as surplus property. After exterior preservation work in the 1970s, led by architect Mary Oehrlein, the building continued its use.

In 2007, the building had to once again undergo a two-year restoration that would amount to $22 million, at the result of a massive fire. During this restoration, new restrooms, heating and air conditioning, and windows were installed.

This building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Photo via Zach Stern

2. Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building

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900 Jefferson Dr SW
Washington, DC 20560

Originally known as the National Museum, this building was constructed in 1881 by the firm of Cluss and Schulze. At the time, it offered 17 galleries, which have since been converted into other uses, such as offices, storage, and equipment rooms.

In 2003, the building closed to the public for repairs by architect Mary Oehrlein. It didn’t reopen until 2015, and is only open for special events.

Arts & Industries Building Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

3. Franklin School

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963 13th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

When this school was constructed by Cluss in 1869, it served as the flagship building of eight modern urban public school buildings.

On the rooftop of the school in 1880, Alexander Graham Bell tested his invention, the photophone, which allows sound to be transmitted by light waves. Because of this, the school was later declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

In 2002, the building was later used as a homeless shelter that eventually closed in September 2008.

Currently, the building is being redeveloped into the nation’s first interactive museum of words and language, known as Planet Word. The delivery for the project is slated for the winter of 2019.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

4. Calvary Baptist Church

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755 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

While not on the National Register of Historic Places, this church is considered a contributing building within the Downtown Historic District. Cluss designed this church in 1866. When it was built, it was deemed a fairly sizeable church for the time, spanning 75 feet by 90 feet deep with a tower of 140 feet high. Three years later, it had to be reconstructed after a fire.

In 2005, a spire was reconstructed on the building, and much preservation work was accomplished.

One historic member of this church was President Warren G. Harding.

Photo via Shutterstock/Ritu Manoj Jethani

5. Charles Sumner School

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17 M Sts, NW.
Washington, DC 20036

At one point, it seemed like this school was doomed. The D.C. government was ready to raze this building, but the D.C. Superior Court halted demolition. It was later rehabilitated and restored by the architectural firm Hartman-Cox.

The structure is now used for the D.C. public school archives and a museum. The school was named after abolitionist and U.S. Senator Charles Sumner.

This 1872-constructed school building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

6. Army Medical Museum and Library

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Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW
Washington, DC 20560

Unfortunately, this Cluss building no longer exists as it was replaced by the Hirshhorn Museum. The museum is still operated on the campus of the National Institutes of Health as the world’s largest biomedical library, founded in 1836.

In the beginning, the library was located in the office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General. It didn’t move to its current location until 1962. Before then, it was located in the Riggs Bank Building, later the Ford’s Theater, before moving once again to the 1886-constructed Army Medical Museum and Library Building at 7th Street SW and Independence Avenue SW in Washington, D.C. Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was still met with the wrecking ball in 1969.

Photo via Library of Congress/Historic American Buildings Survey

1. Eastern Market

225 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
Photo via Zach Stern

Constructed in 1873, Eastern Market is one of Washington, D.C.’s most coveted and historic food halls. It was designed with advanced lighting and ventilation as well as basement meat coolers. When it opened, there were 80 booths that sold meat, vegetables, and other food products to the public. The building was expanded with two halls in 1908 by municipal architect Snowden Ashford.

In the mid-twentieth century, attendance to the grocery chain declined until the D.C. government considered selling the building as surplus property. After exterior preservation work in the 1970s, led by architect Mary Oehrlein, the building continued its use.

In 2007, the building had to once again undergo a two-year restoration that would amount to $22 million, at the result of a massive fire. During this restoration, new restrooms, heating and air conditioning, and windows were installed.

This building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

225 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

2. Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building

900 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20560
Arts & Industries Building Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

Originally known as the National Museum, this building was constructed in 1881 by the firm of Cluss and Schulze. At the time, it offered 17 galleries, which have since been converted into other uses, such as offices, storage, and equipment rooms.

In 2003, the building closed to the public for repairs by architect Mary Oehrlein. It didn’t reopen until 2015, and is only open for special events.

900 Jefferson Dr SW
Washington, DC 20560

3. Franklin School

963 13th St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

When this school was constructed by Cluss in 1869, it served as the flagship building of eight modern urban public school buildings.

On the rooftop of the school in 1880, Alexander Graham Bell tested his invention, the photophone, which allows sound to be transmitted by light waves. Because of this, the school was later declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

In 2002, the building was later used as a homeless shelter that eventually closed in September 2008.

Currently, the building is being redeveloped into the nation’s first interactive museum of words and language, known as Planet Word. The delivery for the project is slated for the winter of 2019.

963 13th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

4. Calvary Baptist Church

755 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Photo via Shutterstock/Ritu Manoj Jethani

While not on the National Register of Historic Places, this church is considered a contributing building within the Downtown Historic District. Cluss designed this church in 1866. When it was built, it was deemed a fairly sizeable church for the time, spanning 75 feet by 90 feet deep with a tower of 140 feet high. Three years later, it had to be reconstructed after a fire.

In 2005, a spire was reconstructed on the building, and much preservation work was accomplished.

One historic member of this church was President Warren G. Harding.

755 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Charles Sumner School

17 M Sts, NW., Washington, DC 20036
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

At one point, it seemed like this school was doomed. The D.C. government was ready to raze this building, but the D.C. Superior Court halted demolition. It was later rehabilitated and restored by the architectural firm Hartman-Cox.

The structure is now used for the D.C. public school archives and a museum. The school was named after abolitionist and U.S. Senator Charles Sumner.

This 1872-constructed school building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

17 M Sts, NW.
Washington, DC 20036

6. Army Medical Museum and Library

Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
Photo via Library of Congress/Historic American Buildings Survey

Unfortunately, this Cluss building no longer exists as it was replaced by the Hirshhorn Museum. The museum is still operated on the campus of the National Institutes of Health as the world’s largest biomedical library, founded in 1836.

In the beginning, the library was located in the office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General. It didn’t move to its current location until 1962. Before then, it was located in the Riggs Bank Building, later the Ford’s Theater, before moving once again to the 1886-constructed Army Medical Museum and Library Building at 7th Street SW and Independence Avenue SW in Washington, D.C. Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was still met with the wrecking ball in 1969.

Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW
Washington, DC 20560