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District of Columbia Jail
The District of Columbia Jail, designed by Mullet, built by Cluss

District of Columbia Jail (91)

Southeast corner, East Capitol Street and 19th Street SE
Constructed 1872, demolished 1976

In 1872, the Supervising Architect for the United States government designed a new jail for the District of Columbia to replace the old federal penitentiary at the US Army Arsenal which had also served as the city's jail, torn down a few years earlier (see Nr. 26). At that time, the Supervising Architect headed an office in the Treasury Department that prepared architectural drawings for all federal buildings in the United States. Cluss worked there from 1855 to 1859, but critized that office's monopoly over federal government building design in a pamphlet published by the American Institute of Architects in 1869.

The Supervising Architect, Mullet, nevertheless hired Cluss, then also the District Building Inspector, as the builder of the new jail. Heading a volunteer committee of local Republicans, Mullett and Cluss also designed and built the temporary Inaugural Ball pavilion at Judiciary Square for the inauguration of General Ulysses S. Grant in March 1873 (see Nr. 72). When Mullett resigned a year later as the engineer member of the Board of Public Works, Grant appointed Cluss to his position.

The DC Jail was demolished in 1976 after the District of Columbia constructed a larger facility nearby.




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