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

24 Properties
Page 1 of 2
$1,500,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,521
Sq.Ft.
1922
Year Built
189
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...
$895,740
Neighborhood: Anacostia
1,292
Sq.Ft.
1928
Year Built
167
Days on Site
DCDC2038130
MLS
Sold " AS-IS". Property has fire and water damage. Lots of potential for complete renovation or development.
Open 9/24
1307 S St SE Washington, DC 20020
$750,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
1
Baths
1,788
Sq.Ft.
1924
Year Built
19
Days on Site
DCDC2064884
MLS
Extraordinary, single family bungalow with a large yard in historic Anacostia! Welcoming front porch makes for the perfect spot to visit with neighbors or enjoy a cup of coffee. Newly installed...
$599,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,428
Sq.Ft.
2022
Year Built
67
Days on Site
DCDC2059332
MLS
NEW CONSTRUCTION... Just the one you have been waiting for in Barry Farms, one of the city's most up and coming neighborhoods. BRAND NEW TOWNHOME on three levels offers an open floor plan with...
$599,500
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,052
Sq.Ft.
1921
Year Built
95
Days on Site
DCDC2055548
MLS
HUGE PRICE REDUCTION - BACK ON THE MARKET - TONS OF VALUE! Welcome home to this 3-bed / 3.5-bath row house. This NEWLY RENOVATED home is waiting for you, featuring more than 2,000 finished square...
Open 9/24
2415 Elvans Rd SE Washington, DC 20020
$589,900
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
2,428
Sq.Ft.
2022
Year Built
67
Days on Site
DCDC2059266
MLS
NEW CONSTRUCTION! Immediate Move-In! Your home search stops here! This brand-new collection of modern 4BR + 3.5BA townhomes features expansive floor plans across 3 finished levels. The 2,400+ SF...
$550,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F21/2
Baths
1,428
Sq.Ft.
1926
Year Built
33
Days on Site
DCDC2064076
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 9/25
1661 U St SE Washington, DC 20020
$519,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
3
Baths
1,248
Sq.Ft.
1918
Year Built
10
Days on Site
DCDC2066568
MLS
Original DC porchfront charm and beautiful creature-comfort updates meet at this BIG 3 Bedroom and 3 Full Bathroom home in Southeast. Situated on a truly green and well gardened block, this home...
$500,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
2
Baths
1,488
Sq.Ft.
1947
Year Built
55
Days on Site
DCDC2061468
MLS
PRICE DROP! Don't miss this Anacostia charmer! Four bedrooms spread across three levels with plenty for everyone to appreciate. The house was completely renovated in 2016, so you'll find all the...
$499,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
2
Beds
1F11/2
Baths
1,760
Sq.Ft.
1979
Year Built
61
Days on Site
DCDC2060756
MLS
Hot Location...Make it Yours!!! No Condo/HOA fees with this Amazing Value!!! Make An Offer!!! Need down payment/closing assistance? Consider George Mason Mortgage Grant up to $10k and/or try DC -...
$499,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
4
Beds
2
Baths
2,497
Sq.Ft.
1937
Year Built
61
Days on Site
DCDC2060758
MLS
Investor Alert! Great rehab opportunity in Hot Anacostia neighborhood. House has in-law suite, 1 block from metro, big backyard, great location. Value of similar houses up to $899K. Come see...
$499,000
Neighborhood: Anacostia
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,309
Sq.Ft.
1909
Year Built
49
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...

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