Homer Building

601 13th Street, NW

The Homer Building appears to have been named for Homer Guerry, a Washington lawyer who had previously owned much of the property on which it was erected. Constructed in 1913-1914, the building was designed by Appleton P. Clark, Jr. to house offices and stores. It was opened for occupancy during World War I, which created a shortage of office space in the capital. As a result, government agencies, such as the Bureau of Plant Industry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of War Economics, were among the first tenants. The Russian Government Purchasing Commission rented space during World War I and as late as 1920 the Belgian Commission was housed here. However, its main tenants were non-federal, such as insurance companies, architects, lawyers, and organizations such as the Washington Chamber of Commerce.

The building reflects the period of the city's commercial life between the world wars. Architecturally the building is a combination of the Commercial style with Neo-Classical ornamentation and some Sullivanesque detailing. While this combination was seen throughout the country, its legitimacy is perhaps greater in Washington, where during the first three decades of the twentieth century the Neo-Classical style was so entrenched that it was common practice to have some type of Neo-Classical window dressing on commercial buildings. The MacMillan Commission's plans for Washington in particular made white Neo-Classical buildings appropriate for this city. The facade was incorporated in a new building 1988‑1989.

DC designation: June 8, 1983

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601 13th Street, NW