The Lunch Room Building and its associated Oyster Shucking Shed, built from 1916-1918 in conjunction with the construction of the Municipal Fish Market, are located at 1100 Maine Avenue, S.W., in Washington, D.C. in the area now known as the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Presently attached with a small hyphen, the Lunch Room Building and the Oyster Shucking Shed were originally distinct structures. The one-story, brick Lunch Room Building features a hipped slate roof with a cupola. The open air, one-story Oyster Shed, which was enclosed by 1931, was an open shed with a hipped slate roof supported by four metal beams. Both buildings have undergone several alterations. The Lunch Room’s northwest and southwest elevations were demolished in 1946 to allow for the concrete block addition that expanded the building to the northwest and southwest. The two buildings were connected by a hyphen sometime between 1946 and 1970. This resulted in the partial removal of the southwest wall of the Lunch Room to allow for an internal connection.
The interior of the Lunch Room Building is generally open with small interior rooms created with wood framing and drywall. The floor and walls are primarily clad in ceramic tile and the wood-framed roof is exposed. Sinks and other fish-cleaning paraphernalia are scattered throughout the space, but it is no longer in use. The building has experienced extensive water damage due to its location on a flood plain, and this damage is visible in cracked and failing plaster, peeling paint and rotting materials. There is no evidence of the original northwest and southwest elevations; the original northeast and southeast elevations are extant but are either covered with tile or not visible owing to non-original cabinetry and cladding.
Today, only the Lunch Room and the Oyster Shucking and Fish Cleaning Shed remain as reminders of the Municipal Fish Market’s heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, standing as anchors for the current open-air floating market.
DC Inventory: November 19, 2015