Historically Designated Interiors

Historic preservation is almost always focused on the protection of a building or a structure's exterior. Because of this flexibility, residents of historic districts freely remodel the interiors of their homes while external facades are saved from the wrecking ball and incorporated into new construction. Nonetheless, DC's historic preservation regulations allow for the designation of "building interiors." Therefore, interiors are occasionally designated for their historic and/or architectural significance. Of the hundreds of landmarks in the District of Columbia, only 20 landmarks have historically designated interior spaces. This tour covers these landmarks.

Most of these interior spaces have been well-documented, and photographs are available on this website, as well as through other resources.

This tour can be completed by walking, public transport, or car.*

*Please keep in mind that most of these interior spaces are private and not open to the public. Some are public, but may require visiting at certain hours and/or booking a tour in advance. Please check individual websites for more information regarding public access.

Eastern Market (and Interiors)

Although Capitol Hill had hosted a neighborhood market for decades, established by a presidential proclamation by Thomas Jefferson in the early 1800s, it wasn’t until 1873 that a dedicated building designed to house the market was erected. At the…

Folger Shakespeare Library (and Interiors)

The Folger Shakespeare Library was constructed on the site of Grant's Row, owing to the acquisition of the land in 1928 by Henry Clay Folger. Folger, a millionaire Standard Oil executive, devoted a great deal of his life to the acquisition of the…

District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds (and Interiors)

The District of Columbia Government’s Recorder of Deeds (ROD) Building expresses the interplay between political aspirations, social struggle, the search for civic identity, and even the influence of global war on the District of Columbia.Designed…

Waffle Shop (and Interior)

Built in 1950 on 10th Street NW across from Ford's Theatre, this diminutive restaurant is virtually the last remaining example of the stylish mid-20th century commercial storefronts that were once common throughout downtown Washington.It was designed…

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (and Interior)

The Martin Luther King Memorial Library (MLK Library) is a four-story steel and glass International-style building in downtown DC, designed by world-famous German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) and completed in 1972. The modern…

Equitable Cooperative Building Association (and Interior)

The Equitable Co-Operative Building Association is a monumental scaled, one-story bank building in the Classical Revival style. Built in 1912, it is a prototypical example of a “temple front” bank building, with a facade that features four marble…

Warner Theatre Building (and Interior)

This ten-story theater and office building, originally known as The Earle and now currently known as the Warner Theatre, was designed in 1924 by noted theater architect C. Howard Crane and his New York partner Kenneth Franzheim. Originally, the Earle…

Federal-American National Bank (and Interiors)

Following the merger of two banks, this building operated as headquarters for the new Federal-American National Bank. The bank was designed by architect Alfred C. Bossom (1881-1965), in association with Washington’s leading Beaux-Arts practitioner,…

Benjamin Franklin School (and Interiors)

Built between 1865 and 1869, the Benjamin Franklin School was the flagship of a group of seven modern urban public school buildings constructed between 1862 and 1875 to house, for the first time, a comprehensive system of free universal public…

Corcoran Gallery of Art (and Interiors)

Founded in 1869 by Washington philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran, the Corcoran Gallery of Art was originally located at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Rapid growth forced the gallery to relocate, and at its opening in 1897,…

Christian Heurich House (and Interiors)

Built between 1892 and 1894 for successful German-American brewer Christian Heurich (1842-1945), the Heurich House is the city’s finest and best-preserved example of Richardsonian Romanesque residential architecture. It is among the nation’s most…

The Northumberland (and Interiors)

The Northumberland, designed by Albert H. Beers and built between 1909 and 1910 by Harry Wardman, presents an eclectic classical facade that blends harmoniously with the buildings that surround it along New Hampshire Avenue. The building remains an…

The Wyoming (and Interior of Entrance Pavilion)

In its essentially unaltered state, the Wyoming stands as a reminder of the elegance and the quality of design, workmanship, and materials characteristic of the Golden Age of the apartment building in the early years of the twentieth century. The…

Barney Studio House (And Interiors)

Constructed between 1902 and 1903, this semi-detached row house was the second to be built in Sheridan Circle and remains architecturally distinct from the neighboring Beaux-Arts mansions. Designed by Washington architect Waddy B. Wood in the…

Alban Towers (and Interiors)

Situated diagonally across from Washington National Cathedral on one of the highest points in the city, the Alban Towers apartment complex is notable for its distinctive architecture. In 1925, a proposed zoning regulation allowing for the…

William L. Slayton House (and Interior)

Designed in the International Style, the William L. Slayton House is one of only three houses known to have been designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei. Pei, primarily a corporate architect but best known for municipal buildings and art…

Sedgwick Gardens (and Interiors)

Designed by Mihran Mesrobian in 1931 for Max Gorin, the president of the Southern Construction Company, Sedgwick Gardens is a significant Art Deco building. The highly decorated copper roof that crowns its central tower accentuates the focal point of…

3901 Connecticut Avenue NW (and Lobby)

The garden-style construction at 3901 Connecticut Avenue NW fulfilled many of the aesthetic and logistic needs of the residents that lived there. The building had direct streetcar access that allowed commuting workers to easily travel to and from…

Chevy Chase Arcade (and Interior of Arcade)

A major feature of Chevy Chase's commercial avenue, the Chevy Chase Arcade was planned by the Chevy Chase Land Company as one of four business centers alternating with apartments along Connecticut Avenue. It illustrates early efforts to provide…