Founded in 1883, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company provided telephone service to Washington, DC and eventually Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The construction of this building in 1928 allowed the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company to introduce dial service to the city’s telephone customers through the new District, Metropolitan, and National exchanges. It housed the new dial switching equipment not able to fit in the company’s existing two downtown offices.
The soaring seven-story building, designed by architects Voorhees, Gmelin and Walker (successors to McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin), was executed with Art Deco detailing and ornamentation. This building is an expression of the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company’s corporate image through a distinctive example of commercial architecture of the time, and further represents both the physical development of the public utility and development of the commercial downton. On May 3, 1930, the Company began its first conversion to dial when 60,000 telephones in downtown DC were switched over from the manual system.
In 1969, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company had a corporate identity overhaul, in which all four companies’ names were shortened to C&P Telephone on marketing materials, bills, vehicles, and more. By 1984, the C&P Telephone companies became part of Bell Atlantic. Today, all but three of the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company branches are owned by Verizon communications; West Virginia is owned by Frontier West Virginia.
DC Inventory: June 19, 1985
National Register: August 5, 1988