New Priorities for a New Decade
The Longworth building was never intended to share the monumental style of the Cannon building. Following the stock market crash in 1929, the goal to create an economical building intensified. The high ceilings, “pretentious corridors,” and rotunda of the Cannon building were viewed as wasted space and therefore eliminated from the design. The designers searched for durable and affordable furnishings, which is evident in the introduction of hard-wearing Bakelite desks. Although significantly under budget in construction, critics were enraged by the so-called superfluous government spending during the Great Depression. As a result, several representatives were hesitant to move offices.
Despite the Depression, the early 1930s witnessed an unprecedented expansion of Capitol Hill and increased opportunities for employment with work on both the Longworth and the new Supreme Court buildings. In addition to the construction jobs created, 3,000 workers applied to move documents from one building to the other. The construction of the Longworth building also helped the economy by using only domestic materials, an effort Architect Lynn took so seriously that he ordered the removal of fifteen thousand feet of foreign steel.