Garfinckel’s Department Store was designed in 1929 by the New York architecture firm of Starrett and Van Vleck, and is an excellent example of a 1920’s department store. The building was built from 1929-30, exemplifying a mastery of the department store design and a stripped classical style. Garfinckel’s Department Store is a nine-story, steel-frame, limestone clad commercial building. The building is significant for its association with founder Julies Garfinckel, who made important contributions to the city’s retail and economic development through founding of a major chain of department stores, setting the tone for style and sophistication in Washington for eighty years. While no longer functioning as a department store, the building remains an important anchor of the city’s downtown retail core.
Since 1905, Julius Garfinckel had been setting the tone of fashion in the nation's capital. By 1928, he was the leading clothier in Washington, operating out of a complex of buildings at the corner of 13th and F Streets, NW. In that year, he announced that a nine-story building would be designed to contain all of the store's departments under one roof. The building was prominently sited on the northwest corner of the intersection of 14th and F Streets, NW.
Garfinckel's Department Store, and its founder Julius Garfinckel, more than any other retail establishment or retailer in the city, became synonymous with top
quality merchandise and attentive customer service. Garfinckel's Department Store set the tone for all other Washington clothing retailers, and was influential in
shaping the city's retail core. Garfinckel's embodies all of the qualities that characterize leading twentieth century department stores: a cohesive design large enough to house all departments under one roof, and; an open plan that allows for easy expansion, and; has served as an effective advertisement for the business that it housed.
DC designation February 17, 1988
National Register listing April 4, 1995