After World War I and II, the American Red Cross saw major growth within the organization, as they expanded their mission from disaster relief in the United States to war relief programs and healthcare for returning soldiers. The new building allowed the DC chapter to consolidate its operations in one building and continue to help those in need. Designed by architectural duo Otto Reinhold Eggers and Daniel Paul Higgins in an Art Deco style, construction began in 1950 and was completed in 1952, with President Truman laying the building’s cornerstone in 1951 and President Eisenhower dedicating the building in 1953.
In addition to the building’s architectural design, Eggers and Higgins commissioned sculpture artist Edmond Amateis to create reliefs for the front facade of the building. The reliefs represented the mission of the Red Cross and featured nurses, one aiding a child and the other holding a blood transfusion bottle. Below, the relief reads, “I am with the wounded,” which Amateis quoted from a telegram sent by the organization’s founder during the Spanish American War in 1898. Amateis received praise for the reliefs and, despite some pushback on their placement on the front facade, they were well-received by those involved with the project.
After moving into the building, the DC Chapter House was able to vacate the various properties they operated out of throughout the city. Additionally, the national headquarters moved into the chapter’s former office on 17th Street NW near the National Mall. However, in 2017, the chapter sold the building to the General Services Administration with the intent to have the State Department occupy the building.
DC Inventory: October 24, 1996