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

Protecting Consumers and Competition

Make No Little Plans

 

— Federal Triangle Heritage Trail —

 
Protecting Consumers and Competition Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
1. Protecting Consumers and Competition Marker
Inscription.  This is the Federal Trade Commission Building, home of the agency that defends the public against unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices. One of the older independent Federal agencies, the FTC was created in 1914 and has occupied this site since the building was completed in 1938. It works to protect the competitive marketplace and interests of consumers through litigation, consumer and business education, public hearings, and enforcement of regulations such as the Do Not Call rule.

Considered the capstone of the Federal Triangle project, the FTC building stands at the apex of the Triangle. As the Great Depression deepened in the 1930s, Congress twice cut funding for the project, which originally called for costly Beaux Arts embellishments similar to those on other Federal Triangle buildings. Eventually Congress funded Edward H. Bennett's simpler, less ornamented "stripped classicism" designs.

Softening the building's severity is artwork illustrating trade activities. Exquisitely detailed aluminum night gates depict the maritime industry's evolution, while bas-reliefs above each entrance show
Entrace to the FTC Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
2. Entrace to the FTC Building
Businessmen exit the new Federal Trade Commission headquarters under Concetta Scaravaglione's bas-relief, Agriculture.
forms of commercial exchange. (Bas-reliefs, popular in Art Deco design, are sculptures slightly raised from their backgrounds.) Man Controlling Trade, the dramatic limestone figures flanking this end of the building, symbolize the FTC's role in protecting competition. The well muscled men represent government and the wild stallions represent unregulated business. New Yorker Michael Lantz was a 19-year-old struggling artist when he won the 1938 competition to design these sculptures. Lantz was the younger brother of Walter Lantz of "Woody Woodpecker" fame.
 
Erected 2012 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 16.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Art Deco, and the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail series lists.
 
Location. 38° 53.56′ N, 77° 1.22′ W. Marker is in Federal Triangle in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest and 6th Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. 601 Pennsylvania Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); Andrew W. Mellon (within
Bas-Reliefs image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
3. Bas-Reliefs
Clockwise from top, Foreign Trade by Carl Schmitz, Shipping by Robet Laurent, and Industry by Chaim Gross are the building's other over-door bas-reliefs.
shouting distance of this marker); National Intelligencer (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pennsylvania Avenue (about 300 feet away); National Council of Negro Women (about 400 feet away); Market Space: Yesterday’s Town Square (about 400 feet away); Grand Army of the Republic (about 500 feet away); Ending Slavery in Washington (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Federal Triangle.
 
Additional keywords. Sculptors: Carl Schmitz, Robert Laurent, Chaim Gross
 
Michael Lantz image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
4. Michael Lantz
Young Michael Lantz earned the commission for Man Controlling Trade in 1938 during the difficult days of the Great Depression. A Washington Post article chronicles his good fortune.
Aluminum Gate image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
5. Aluminum Gate
This 1937 sketch for William McVey's aluminum right gate panels shows American maritime trade's evolution from Columbus's fleet to a then-modern seaplane. Most of the building's decorations celebrate U.S. trade. At right, FTC's night gates gleam after restoration, 2012.
Man Controlling Trade image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
6. Man Controlling Trade
Man Controlling Trade provided a prime viewing spot for the Bicentennial parade on Constitution Avenue, July 4, 1976.
Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
7. Map of the Federal Triangle Heritage Trail System
Protecting Consumers and Competition Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
8. Protecting Consumers and Competition Marker
FTC Night Gate image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
9. FTC Night Gate
Cornerstone of FTC Building image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
10. Cornerstone of FTC Building
Man Controlling Trade image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
11. Man Controlling Trade
Entrance and Agriculture Bas-Relief image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
12. Entrance and Agriculture Bas-Relief
Entrance and Foreign Trade Bas-Relief image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 9, 2012
13. Entrance and Foreign Trade Bas-Relief
 
 
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 549 times since then and 19 times this year. Last updated on September 6, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1. submitted on July 6, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on August 25, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A photo of the reverse side of the marker. • Can you help?
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Sep. 23, 2020