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Lansburgh's Department Store

Lansburgh's Department Store (9)

420-426 7th Street, NW
Constructed in 1882, subsumed by a later building

The Lansburgh's department store was founded by brothers, Gustav and James, whose parents emigrated from Hamburg, Germany. Starting in the retail business in Baltimore, the brothers moved to their first location in Washington at 7th Street between K and I Streets in 1861. Cluss designed a new building for their department store in 1882 four blocks south of their first location in the heart of the business district. This new building cost $30,000 and featured the first commercial elevator in Washington. The brothers promised that their goods would be "a display worthy of the Capital of the Nation."

Two years later, a neighbour of the Lansburgh's, the German immigrant and baker John L. Vogt, commissioned Cluss to design the building on 426 7th Street. He then rented this building to the Lansburgh brother as an extension for their department store. A downtown landmark for 114 years, the store expanded to other neighboring properties (see Nr. 10 and 77). For many years its furniture department occupied the old Masonic Temple building, built by Cluss in the late 1860's. The daughter of Gustav Lansburgh, Minnie Lansburgh Goldsmith, became a well-known Washington philanthropist.

According to Cluss's great grandson, members of the Lansburgh family were longtime friends of the Cluss and Daw families.




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