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Lord & Taylor Washington, D. C.

  • Year Built: 1959
  • Architect: William Snaith (Raymond Loewy Corporation)

Located at 5255 Western Avenue, this longtime Lord & Taylor location is very much emblematic of its time – thanks to its sleek and classic design by William Snaith of the revered Raymond Lowey Corporation.

It is also a representative example of the growth in suburban retailers following World War II, as department stores were moving out of Downtown Washington to the metropolitan area’s suburbs.

According to the landmark nomination prepared by the DC Preservation League in 2022, “[a]s the only known work in the District reflecting the aesthetics of master designer William Snaith and the Raymond Loewy Corporation, the building is a unique expression of functional Modernist building design principles tempered by the practical demands of the mid-century retail industry.

Unlike the many unremarkable “big box” stores that came after it, this building, along with others in the set of eight stores that the Raymond Loewy Corporation designed for Lord & Taylor’s acclaimed president, Dorothy Shaver, conveys style and elegance.

The signature style of the Lord & Taylor chain, as conveyed in this building, attracted shoppers from around the region and marked a turning point in the rise of Friendship Heights as a retail shopping destination during the late decades of the 20th century.”

1959 photos from the Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

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