PEPCO’s Harrison Street Substation Washington, D. C.
Using the Art Moderne style that was prevalent in commercial buildings of its period, the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) built its Harrison Street substation to meet a growing demand for electricity in the area.
The area also needed a reliable supply of electricity in case of war. The limestone façade reflected PEPCO’s policy of building facilities that harmonized with the surroundings so they would be less conspicuous and therefore less vulnerable.
The windows in the front of the building were used for displays – sometimes in support of the war effort, and, according to long time residents, sometimes appliances or Christmas displays with an electric train.
The Harrison Street substation was the only substation built on a commercial corridor that was designed to resemble a business storefront and is the only substation of its period in the Art Moderne style.
PEPCO has committed to restoring the Wisconsin Avenue façade as part of its current infrastructure project.
Nomination co-sponsored by Art Deco Society of Washington
(Listed in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites, 2017)