Art and Industries Building

Constructed between 1879 and 1881, this is the nation’s best-preserved example of 19th-century world’s fair or exposition-type architecture.

Built to house the international exhibits left over from the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876, the Arts and Industry building reflects the three principal requirements of this architectural type: to enclose a very large area, to present a tasteful, dramatic, and pleasing exterior, and to employ inexpensive construction technology. The architects were Cluss & Schulze.

The Arts and Industry Building represents the new creation of the formal Mall, which the McMillan Commission envisioned, necessitated the alteration of several features then existing on the grounds. The Commission called for the razing of all structures on Reservation D, as well as the relocation or destruction of the Botanical Gardens, the railroad station, and the Smithsonian Building. Furthermore, the group suggested that the axis of the Mall be adjusted to align with an axis running between the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

The plan underwent gradual implementation. 1904 saw the construction of the National Museum (now the Museum of Natural History), and one year later construction on a new Department of Agriculture building got underway. A major roadblock was removed when in 1909 the B & 0 Railroad depot and tracks were shifted from the grounds to a new location north of the Capitol.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
NHL Designation and National Register: November 11, 1971
Within National Mall HD
US ownership



900 Jefferson Drive, SW