Spring Valley Shopping Center (Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops and Square 1500)
This historic strip mall demonstrates the progression of residential and commercial activity up Massachusetts Avenue.
The five commercial buildings that comprise the Spring Valley Shopping Center a unified grouping of freestanding structures that all share common architectural vocabulary, building materials, scale, and design motifs. Developed and managed by a single real estate firm between 1939 and 1950, these red brick commercial buildings were designed in a consistent Colonial Revival style to complement the surrounding residential neighborhood.
With residential development along both sides of Massachusetts Avenue proceeding at a rapid rate from
the 1920s through the 1940s, the provision of convenient neighborhood shopping assumed an important role. Rather than allowing an uncontrolled array of competing establishments to be located along the major thoroughfare, as could be found along Wisconsin Avenue, commercial development was limited to the blocks on both sides of Massachusetts Avenue, between 48th and 49th streets. The arrangement of buildings around a central parking lot reflects the growing centrality of automobiles in American life.
DC Inventory: July 19, 1989