Northwest corner, Bureau of Engraving and Printing Annex - Washington DC
A new annex was constructed for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1936-38. The building was authorized by Congress in 1935 for $6.3 million, but the funds flowed through the Public Works Administration (PWA).
The Treasury Department’s Procurement Division handled the design through its architecture office, put out the contract and supervised construction, which was carried out by the John McShain Co. (Evening Star, 1936).
In its 1936 fiscal year report, the U.S. Treasury noted: “On August 12, 1935, Congress authorized the construction of a new annex to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to be located on a site opposite the present building, on the east side of 14th Street, between C and D Streets SW. Plans for this building have been completed by the Procurement Division and a contract for its erection, at a cost of approximately $6,300,000, has been awarded. The annex will be connected with the main building by a tunnel under 14th Street and with the freight yards for the handling of carload shipments by a tunnel under D Street. The work of clearing the site preliminary to the erection of the building has already been started.”
The Treasury described the specific funding sources for the Annex and other federal buildings in its 1937 report: “The present building program in the District of Columbia is being carried on with funds allotted to the [Procurement] Division by the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works [Harold Ickes] and from appropriations made direct to the Division.” The Treasury’s 1938 report also linked the Annex to the Public Works Administration [PWA] program.
The Annex was put up by John McShain Builders, which constructed many of the New Deal era buildings and monuments around DC. The Annex was completed in 1938. It is an enormous 10-wing structure that provided over 600,000 square feet of additional work space for the employees of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It was described at the time as, “the largest reinforced concrete factory type structure in the world…523 feet long and 251 feet wide…” seven stories high, with attic, penthouse and two basement levels. (Evening Star, 1938)
Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, fiscal year 1936, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1937, pp. 131-132.
Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, fiscal year 1937, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1938, pp. 183-184.
Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, fiscal year 1938, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1939, p. 54.
"Engraving Annex Again Under Way," Evening Star, September 24, 1936, p. B-15.
"Engraving Annex Initiates Shift," Evening Star, June 24, 1938, p. B-1
Carl M. Brauer. The Man Who Built Washington: A Life of John McShain. Wilmington DE: Hagley Museum and Library, 1996
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on January 12, 2020.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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