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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Open For Business

Make No Little Plans

 

— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
Open For Business Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
1. Open For Business Marker
Inscription.  Across the street the Department of Commerce's Herbert C. Hoover Building anchors the Federal Triangle, just as the department - with its mission of promoting trade, supporting economic development, and strengthening the competitiveness of American companies - historically anchors the U.S. economy. Upon completion in 1932, the building was the world's largest office complex, covering almost eight acres and filling three city blocks with 3,300 rooms. It brought under one roof offices that had been scattered among 20 locations in Washington. The massive Hoover Building has six interior courtyards that bring light and air into offices. Exterior sculptures, plaques, and inscriptions illustrate the department's wide-ranging activities.

The monumental structure reflects the nation's prosperity when Louis Ayres of the New York firm of York and Sawyer designed it and when President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone in May 1929. A few months later, however, the world economy crashed, launching the Great Depression. Fortunately, construction on the Federal Triangle proceeded creating jobs that became harder to find as the depression deepened.

When
Aeronautics image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
2. Aeronautics
The central figure for James Earle Fraser's Aeronitics sculpture is hoisted into position on the 13th Street side of the Hoover Building. The sculpture's two 'mortals' fasten wings to a 'demi-god' pilot, suggesting the greatness of human flight.
the Commerce Department was founded in 1903, it took in the Census Bureau (established in 1790), Bureau of Navigation (1789), Lighthouse Service (1789), Patent Office (1802), Coast and Geodetic Survey (1807), Bureau of Steamboat Inspection (1838), and Bureau of Fisheries (1871). When the building was complete, it also housed the bureaus of Mines, Foreign and Domestic Commerce, and Aeronautics, as well as the Radio Division. Changing times have consolidated or eliminated many bureaus, but the department's mission of supporting the American economy remains constant.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 8.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceLaw Enforcement. In addition, it is included in the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail series list.
 
Location. 38° 53.658′ N, 77° 1.905′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on 14th Street Northwest south of D Street Northwest, on the right when traveling north. Located in front of the Ronald Reagan Building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington DC 20004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. To the Memory of Oscar S. Straus (within shouting distance of
Lower Left Photos image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
3. Lower Left Photos
Upper photo: The Commerce Department's vaulted law library. The library and the White House Visitor Center are open to the public and can be entered on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building.

Lower photo: President Herbert Hoover, who earlier served as secretary of commerce, addressed the nation at the 1929 cornerstone-laying ceremony of the Department of Commerce building.
this marker); Alexander Robey Shepherd (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Completing the Triangle (about 400 feet away); Washington, DC: Capital and City (about 400 feet away); The John A. Wilson Building (about 400 feet away); Marion Barry, Jr. (about 500 feet away); The Division (about 600 feet away); Flags of the World (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
 
Also see . . .  National Aquarium: closure in 2013. (Submitted on February 22, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
 
Artwork for the Hoover Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
4. Artwork for the Hoover Building
Upper photo: To decorate the façades of the building, James Earle Fraser designed bas-reliefs representing Commerce's 16 bureaus in 1930. The National Aquarium, an initiative of the Bureau of Fisheries, is located inside the Commerce Building and is open to the public.

Lower photo: Craftsmen create the bronze doors found inside the Hoover Building. An example of their handiwork is shown at right.
Bronze Door Artwork image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
5. Bronze Door Artwork
Back of Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
6. Back of Marker
Commerce Department's Offices image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
7. Commerce Department's Offices
The monumental Commerce Department serves as the short leg of the Federal Triangle. It features a base of rusticated granite blocks, a colonnade with Doric capitals, and a cornice embellished with eagles.
Federal Triangle Heritage Trail map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
8. Federal Triangle Heritage Trail map
Open For Business Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, September 13, 2016
9. Open For Business Marker
The marker can be seen here (to the left of the large "P" sign) in front of the Ronald Reagan Building, looking south on 14th Street, NW.
Hoover Building - 14th Street Side image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 2, 2012
10. Hoover Building - 14th Street Side
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 435 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on July 8, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   9. submitted on September 13, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   10. submitted on July 8, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Jul. 4, 2020