Traditional Outside, Modern Inside

Longworth House Office Building Postcard/tiles/non-collection/L/LHOB_Ext_portico_BW.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
The principal portico of the Longworth building was inspired by architect George Hadfield's 1820 design for the District of Columbia City Hall.
The Longworth building exhibits the neoclassical revival style of architecture that was popular in 20th century Washington and used for the contemporaneous National Gallery of Art and the Jefferson Memorial. The exterior of the building is faced with white marble and rests on a pink granite base.  Five porticoes of ionic columns with a modest entablature wrap around the exterior of building. The principal portico, which faces the Capitol, is topped by a large pediment.

While the traditional exterior blended in with its neighbors, the new office building was updated for convenience and efficiency. At its opening, a telephone switchboard with thirty operators served over two thousand telephones. Each office had the ability to take the phone call in the main office or the private office, giving the Representatives unprecedented privacy. Additional phone jacks placed along the hallways allowed Capitol police officers to plug in portable telephone handsets throughout the building. The building also implemented an updated call system, which featured a soft buzzing alarm instead of the “clanging gong” of Cannon. The only unfinished component in April 1933 was the radio system that would eventually broadcast all floor discussions.

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