The History of Anacostia’s “Big Chair”

anacostia big chair - washington dc
Photo: Ted Eytan

It’s definitely one of the DC area’s most unique landmarks, and it’s been that way for well more than a half-century. The descriptively named “Big Chair” stands nearly 20 feet tall and does anything but blend in with its surroundings.

The chair towers high above the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and V Street SE in Anacostia. Much like other roadside attractions, the Big Chair is an icon of sorts for the local community.

First constructed in the late 1950s, the original chair was designed as an advertisement for a local furniture company. The chair was supposed to be a replica of a Duncan Phyfe dining room chair.

Originally constructed out of African Mahogany, the chair weighed in at a whopping 4,600 pounds. At one time it was deemed the largest chair in the world.

Old photographs show people standing below the chair to show its immense size, and even gathering as a group on the seat of the chair. To make it even more of a spectacle, the Curtis Bros Furniture Company soon added a glass cube to its seat.

The 10 by 10 glass house had a bed, shower, toilet and even a tv set and radio. Transparent on three sides, the cube offered little privacy, but it sure did bring in the crowds, especially after the store recruited a young model to live in the cube. It’s said she only made it 42 days.

Fast forward another decade or so and the furniture showroom closed up shop. Despite this, the chair remained. Some have equated the chair as a reminder of the neighborhood’s economic progress and potential.

The current chair standing at the corner isn’t the original. That one had reportedly deteriorated so much over the years that it had to be replaced. While the new chair resembles the old one, it’s now made out of aluminum.

Anacostia Homes For Sale

Anacostia Homes For Sale

21 Properties
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$895,740
Neighborhood: Anacostia
1,292
Sq.Ft.
1928
Year Built
294
Days on Site
DCDC2038130
MLS
Sold " AS-IS". Property has fire and water damage. Lots of potential for complete renovation or development.
$829,999
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,475
Sq.Ft.
1927
Year Built
46
Days on Site
DCDC2077956
MLS
Think Bold, Think Beautiful. This home has it all. There wasn't one detail left out in this complete renovation at 1727. You'll want to see for yourself!

You'll feel at home as soon as you...
$689,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
1,660
Sq.Ft.
1905
Year Built
41
Days on Site
DCDC2078102
MLS
This completely renovated Charming Row House is ready for you to move in! This 4 bedroom 3.5 bathroom home was renovated from the ground up and boasts nearly 1,800 sqft of serene living space. The...
$619,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
2
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,706
Sq.Ft.
1925
Year Built
95
Days on Site
DCDC2073196
MLS
Welcome to this gorgeous home that has been renovated top to bottom. Refinished original hardwood floors, recessed lighting, kitchen with granite counter tops, recently updated stainless steel...
$609,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
1,420
Sq.Ft.
1932
Year Built
76
Days on Site
DCDC2075406
MLS
HUGE Reduction of $20,000
Don't miss this opportunity to buy into vibrant Anacostia, which has so much to offer, restaurants, grocery stores, shopping and more! This meticulously updated three...
$585,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
1,860
Sq.Ft.
1939
Year Built
67
Days on Site
DCDC2076036
MLS
Nestled in the heart of DC, this newly renovated 3-bedroom 2.5 bath will not last long. This home offers an open concept with beautiful hardwood floors throughout. Newly renovated kitchen with smoke...
$579,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,364
Sq.Ft.
1905
Year Built
26
Days on Site
DCDC2079104
MLS
Historic Charm Meets Upgraded Living. Fully Renovated and upgraded home with beautiful wood flooring throughout. This open concept main level has all the extras you love in a modern kitchen. Ample...
$550,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
5
Beds
2
Baths
1,922
Sq.Ft.
1925
Year Built
21
Days on Site
DCDC2079870
MLS
No description available...
$549,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
1F11/2
Baths
1,794
Sq.Ft.
1933
Year Built
82
Days on Site
DCDC2074180
MLS
JUST REDUCED! This all-brick 3-level DETACHED, 4 bed, 1.5 bath home in Historic Anacostia can use some TLC. Ideal for a 203K loan renovation. Large separate living room with fireplace, dining room,...
$549,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,309
Sq.Ft.
1909
Year Built
72
Days on Site
DCDC2042018
MLS
Disregard days on the market. This is a true Turnkey. Workforce housing at it's Best! This magnificent property has been brought back to life. Household size must be 3 people or more and total...
$529,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,428
Sq.Ft.
2022
Year Built
54
Days on Site
DCDC2077314
MLS
NEW CONSTRUCTION! ACT NOW!! Take Advantage of $215,000 in Total Savings (*Up to $202,000 in HPAP Down Payment Assistance, 2% SELLER CLOSING CREDIT, can be used for Buydown, when you use Supreme...
$525,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,185
Sq.Ft.
1939
Year Built
89
Days on Site
DCDC2073968
MLS
Welcome to this Anacostia Beauty! Ridge Pl SE is known for its tree-lined streets, classic architecture, and quaint neighborhood vibe. Charmed with a front porch, it's perfect for morning coffee or...

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