Posted tagged ‘industry’

Bygone Washington: A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Company

October 6, 2011

As those who have participated in the neighborhood walking tours I’ve led know, one of the things I touch upon is how the greater Park View section of Georgia Avenue had a very strong German population in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While Schuetzen Park comes to mind immediately as a gathering place for local celebrations and events, evidence of German settlement is also found by looking at the homesteads belonging to the Gass, Widmeyer, and Glick families. Even Columbia Road was known as Steuben Street until 1905.

Loeffler Plant, Brightwood Avenue, 1906

Many of these families had livelihoods tied to Washington’s markets as butchers and, as in the case of the Gass family, later as grocers. One notable German family that settled just north of Rock Creek Church Road was that of Andreas Loeffler (Löffler) who settled in the area now roughly located at the southwest corner of Georgia Avenue and Quincy Street in the early 1870s. At this farm, Loeffler founded what became the A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Company, a major Washington Industry that thrived at 3730 Brightwood Avenue (later Georgia) until ca. 1916. In that year a new facility was built on Benning Road, SE, across the Anacostia River, and operations were moved there adjacent to the Union Stock Yards.

This section from the 1909 Baist's Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Washington shows the location of the Loeffler plant to the north of Rock Creek Church Road and west of Georgia Avenue

A good description of the A. Loeffler Sausage and Provision Co. during its heyday comes from a 1907 Washington Post article, published just two years after Andreas Loffler’s death in 1905. The plant, located on Brightwood Avenue near Rock Creek Church Road, was described as consisting of nearly a dozen spacious houses, joined together at angles, filled in every conceivable fashion with the most modern equipment. In many instances the buildings were described as going two stories underground and having adjoining concrete floors. The use of concrete for the flooring was considered a feature of interest as it created a far more sanitary plant, allowing them to be washed at intervals throughout the day.

Loeffler Christmas Greetings from 1915

The underground levels of the packing plant were used as cold storage rooms in which meats were stored and cured. Well-ventilated cooking rooms with big, steaming kettles were located on the upper floors.

The Loeffler Company had an extensive retail and wholesale trade, not only offering cured meats in Washington at the Central and Northern Liberty Markets (among others), but also in most important cities and towns throughout the United States.

The appearance of the Brightwood plant, located at the rear of the Loeffler homestead, was that of a farm. Stretching out on both sides were green landscapes, dotted with shrubbery and flowers and stately oaks. The Loeffler’s home was described as large and airy, with tidy appointments showing the careful work of an excellent housekeeper.

Today there is no trace of this once important industry in the neighborhood. The old Loeffler homestead and factory giving way to rowhouses and the Park Place Apartments above the Metro.

This photograph of construction at the A. Loeffler Sausage & Provisions Co. dates to 1916 and presumably show the new facilities at Benning (from Library of Congress)

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Lamont Lofts Building has Significant Heritage

December 1, 2010

The Lamont Lofts opened in 2005

When the Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) completed the Lamont Lofts in November, 2005, the project was noted as being one of the few true loft residences in Washington. This was due to NDC’s use of an actual industrial building for their conversion — unlike many of today’s lofts which are entirely new construction.

The building itself was originally completed in 1952 at a cost of $700,000 for the Arcade-Sunshine Company as its third and last expansion. It was connected to the original plant next door at 713-731 Lamont Street.

The structure was built and designed by the Ring Engineering Company and is significant for being the first building in Washington to use “smooth ceiling” construction, described as a flat concrete slab without beams, girders or other projections. Other building details include cavity brick walls — two separate brick walls with an air and insulating space between — and awning type windows that were considered rain-proof even when open.

The third and final addition to the Arcade-Sunshine Co., completed in 1952 (image from Washington Post)

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