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

23 Properties
Page 1 of 2
$1,500,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,521
Sq.Ft.
1922
Year Built
68
Days on Site
DCDC2036998
MLS
This 100 year old home is a rare find in one of the most sought after locations in Washington DC. If you can dream it you can conceive it. This beautiful brick home features, 5 bedrooms, 3 full...
$978,500
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
4
Baths
3,360
Sq.Ft.
1938
Year Built
9
Days on Site
DCDC2050552
MLS
Great, close-in location with favorable RA-2 Zoning, which allows for more density & a height up to 50 feet! Thorough and thoughtful owner has been the ideal steward for this solid brick 4-plex with...
$895,740
Neighborhood: Anacostia
1,292
Sq.Ft.
1928
Year Built
46
Days on Site
DCDC2038130
MLS
Sold " AS-IS". Property has fire and water damage. Lots of potential for complete renovation or development.
$850,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
4
Baths
3,360
Sq.Ft.
1938
Year Built
52
Days on Site
DCDC2043568
MLS
Great four unit building in Anacostia! Four one bedroom one bathroom units. Two are occupied, two are vacant. Unit #1 is vacant and remodeled. Unit #2 features: ceiling fan, living room, full...
Open 5/28
2305 Elvans Rd SE Washington, DC 20020
$675,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,300
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
197
Days on Site
DCDC2021104
MLS
**pending release** Open House Saturday 5/28, 12-2PM** brand-new, sleek, modern, contemporary townhome with stunning unobstructed views of the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the...
$660,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,052
Sq.Ft.
1921
Year Built
10
Days on Site
DCDC2038306
MLS
What a wonderful place to call home. Be home just in time for the holidays in this lovely 3 bed 3.5 bath home that features bamboo flooring and ceramic tile throughout. New kitchen and granite...
$635,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,728
Sq.Ft.
1905
Year Built
15
Days on Site
DCDC2049060
MLS
This painstakingly renovated home in the heart of Historic Anacostia is a must see. The open and inviting floor plan offers space for everyone. You will want to make yourself at home in this comfy...
$624,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F21/2
Baths
1,972
Sq.Ft.
1926
Year Built
3
Days on Site
DCDC2051466
MLS
3 Bedroom, 2 Full, 2 half bath open concept home located in the heart of Historic Anacostia. Home has been totally renovated from top to bottom. Hardwood floors throughout. Kitchen includes new...
Open 5/29
1311 T St SE Washington, DC 20020
$619,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
1,658
Sq.Ft.
1925
Year Built
10
Days on Site
DCDC2044106
MLS
Owner’s exquisite touch makes this renovated Downtown Anacostia home a true gem! Step in to find stylish hexagonal tile at the entryway integrating seamlessly with solid hardwood flooring. The...
$599,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,022
Sq.Ft.
1905
Year Built
15
Days on Site
DCDC2049436
MLS
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY 5/22 11A - 1P! Welcome to this sun-soaked, detached 4 bedroom 2.5 bath home in the heart of Historic Anacostia! This home was featured in the Anacostia Smithsonian Museum and with...
$559,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2
Baths
1,432
Sq.Ft.
1905
Year Built
16
Days on Site
DCDC2049170
MLS
The perfect blend of classic character and contemporary living! Complete transformation of this historic home in one of DC's hottest neighborhoods. Welcoming front porch leads into the open main...
$499,500
Neighborhood: Anacostia
2
Beds
2
Baths
900
Sq.Ft.
1937
Year Built
105
Days on Site
DCDC2036148
MLS
This house is as CUTE as it gets. Custom tile, cabinets, backsplash, off street parking, open kitchen floor plan. Look at the pictures and fall in love.

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