Built in 1926 as the headquarters of Local No. 132 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, this building recalls the extremely prominent role the union and its local affiliates played in the emergence of the national labor movement. When built, it was believed to be the largest building owned by any local union in the United States.
The Washington local was closely associated with Gabriel Edmonston, leader of the city’s first carpenters’ union, and first president of the national union (both established in 1881). Edmonston and the United Brotherhood were instrumental in the formation of the American Federation of Labor, the fight for the eight-hour work day, and the creation of the Labor Day holiday.
The eight-story red brick and limestone building, designed by local architect O. Harvey Miller, is a typical commercial office block, yet distinctive for its Colonial Revival facades (which may allude to Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia, home of the nation’s oldest trade guild and site of the first Continental Congress). For many years the building housed a Carpenters Hall on the top floor, as well as offices for other union organizations. At the height of the union influx into Washington, it was one of several labor headquarters clustered near the American Federation of Labor on Mount Vernon Square.
National Register: September 17, 2003
DC Inventory: January 23, 2003