Garfinckel’s Department Store was designed in 1929 by the New York architecture firm of Starrett and Van Vleck,and is an excellent example of a 1920s department store. The building is significant for its association with founder Julius Garfinckel, who made important contributions to the city’s retail and economic development through founding of a major chain of department stores, setting the tone for style and sophistication in Washington for eighty years. While no longer functioning as a department store, the building remains an important anchor of the city’s downtown retail core.
Since 1905, Julius Garfinckel had been setting the tone of fashion in the nation's capital. By 1928, he was the leading clothier in Washington, operating out of a complex of buildings at the corner of 13th and F Streets, NW. In that year, he announced that a nine-story building would be designed to contain all of the store's departments under one roof. The building was prominently sited on the northwest corner of the intersection of 14th and F Streets, NW.
More than any other retail establishment or retailer in the city, Garfinckel's Department Store and its founder Julius Garfinckel became synonymous with top-quality merchandise and attentive customer service. Garfinckel's Department Store set the tone for all other Washington clothing retailers, and was influential in shaping the city's retail core. Garfinckel's embodies all of the qualities that characterize leading twentieth century and has served as an effective advertisement for the business that it housed.
DC Inventory: February 17, 1988
National Register: April 4, 1995