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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration Building (Boundary Increase and Additional Documentation)
Reference Number 15000845
State District of Columbia
County District of Columbia
Town Washington
Street Address 12th Street and Jefferson Drive, S.W.
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Accepted 12/1/2015
Areas of Significance Agriculture, Architecture, Community Planning & Development, Landscape Architecture, Politics/Government
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture Administration (Whitten) Building is nationally significant under National Register Criteria A and C. It is significant under Criterion A for its association with the Department of Agriculture, which emerged from a dramatic period of growth in the first four decades of the twentieth century to become one of the nation's most influential and farreaching federal agencies. By virtue of the Department's influence and longevity of development on the site, the Whitten Building is the only building facing the National Mall to house the headquarters of a Cabinet-level agency. The property is also significant under Criterion A as one of the earliest buildings whose style and siting conformed to the recommendations of the 1902 Senate Park Commission Plan (generally referred to as the McMillan Plan). The plan sought to promote the principles of the L'Enfant Plan and the City Beautiful movement in Washington, specifically around the capital's monumental core. With major and lasting impacts for the development of Washington throughout the twentieth century, the McMillan Plan resonated throughout the country as cities sought to develop civic and cultural centers. As a work of architecture, the Whitten Building is a monumental example of the Beaux Arts style in the District of Columbia, and it served as a model for the development of later federal buildings in Washington. Finally, the resource is significant under Criterion C as a work of landscape architecture, for its association with the prominent Olmsted Brothers firm, who tailored the site's planting to complement their greater visions for the National Mall and its environs. The period of significance, 1904-1936, covers the building's period of development and includes the construction of all contributing resources.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria