Brownley Confectionery Building – Washington, DC
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 38° 53.855 W 077° 01.804
18S E 323951 N 4307370
Historic Art Deco style commercial building in downtown Washington, DC.
Waymark Code: WMP0A7
Location: District of Columbia, United States
Date Posted: 06/02/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 7

The Brownley Confectionary Building at 1309 F Street is one of the finest extant examples of a small-scale commercial building in the Art Deco style in Washington, D.C. Constructed in 1932 as Brownley's Confectionary, the building was designed by the locally prominent architectural firm of Porter & Lockie, notable for its use of Art Deco design motifs in commercial and institutional buildings. The building is one of the last remaining from the commercial heyday of the 1300 block of F Street, once the heart of the city's most fashionable shopping district.

Walter Brownley was proprietor of both a Confectionary and a fruit and nut shop. The Confectionary opened as early as 1905, when the store first appears in the City Directory at 1203-5 G Street, N.W. As the business expanded through the 1920s, Brownley opened at other locations on more fashionable F Street, first in the 1200 block, and later in the 1300 block, following the carriage trade as it gradually migrated toward the western end of F Street and the new Garfinckel's Department Store (constructed 1929-30).

The entreprenurial Brownley family purchased a previously existing building at 1309 F Street under the name Brownley Investment Company in 1920. The same company also purchased an existing building at 1300 F Street. However, it was not until 1932, upon the death of Walter Brownley, that the family razed the buildings at 1300 and 1309 F Street in order to construct buildings of a more contemporary design. The family hired the architectural firm of Porter & Lockie to provide them with complementary designs for a new fruit and nut shop at 1300 F and the new Confectionary at 1309. The company continued at each address until 1940, when the businesses closed. The building at 1300 F Street has been demolished.

The Brownley Confectionary Building was constructed by the James Baird Construction Company at a cost of approximately $60,000. Designed specifically as a Confectionary store, it was considered modern inside and out, "the last word in construction for the candy business" according to a contemporary account. It was constructed as a fireproof structure, and was fully air-conditioned. The first floor was equipped with a soda fountain and light lunch counter; a balcony area at the rear of the first floor was used as a lounge. The remainder of the building housed a modern candy kitchen, bake shop, rest rooms and storage. Built at the height of the Great Depression, the building represented one of the largest private building projects of the year in Washington.

The building appears to be in very good condition and is currently occupied by a restaurant.
Street address:
1309 F St., NW.
Washington, District of Columbia

County / Borough / Parish: District of Columbia

Year listed: 1994

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1925 - 1949

Historic function: Commerce/Trade

Current function: Commerce/Trade

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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