Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Building, the Cleveland-Emerson Exchange

The Cleveland-Emerson Exchange building is an expansive, smooth-cut limestone-clad brick building with stripped classical massing and Art Deco detailing in front of and abutting the earlier buff brick Classical Revival-style Cleveland Exchange building.

The Cleveland-Emerson Exchange is an impressive and notable stripped Classical building with Art Deco detailing located on a prominent corner in the Tenleytown neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. The building, constructed as a telephone exchange for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company, is the product of three separate phases of construction, but appears today as one unified and cohesive building. It occupies the site of the area’s first telephone exchange, a small concrete tile building constructed in 1907-08. Along with the adjacent firehouse from 1910, the building represents a period of suburbanization in the former 19th-century village of Tenleytown. The exchange building (now Verizon’s Regional Bill Payment Center) is a large, two-story limestone building having an irregular footprint measuring approximately 22,500 square feet.

The main building fronting Wisconsin Avenue and Warren Streets was designed by notable architect Waddy Butler Wood in 1931-32 and built in two phases, 1931-32 during the architect’s lifetime, and circa 1960, well after the architect’s death. Two walls of an earlier buff brick Classical Revival-style building, constructed in 1927, survive at the rear of the main building and are clearly visible from 40th Street behind Wisconsin Avenue.

The Cleveland- Emerson Exchange building at 4346 Wisconsin Avenue, NW in the Tenleytown neighborhood of northwest Washington was constructed by the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company in several phases to accommodate the ever-increasing number of telephone subscribers in the vicinity. The existing building sits upon the site of the first telephone exchange building in Tenleytown (constructed in 1907-08) and consists, itself, of three phases of development: 1927; 1931-32 and circa 1960.

DC Inventory: February 26, 2009
National Register: September 8, 2017



4268 Wisconsin Avenue, NW