About the Mary E. Switzer Building

Designed to house the newly established Railroad Retirement Board, the construction of the Mary E. Switzer Federal Building initiated the revitalization of the southwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. and the transformation into a federal enclave. Completed on the eve of World War II, the building was requisitioned for war-time use just prior to its completion, serving the National Defense Committee and Department of War throughout the ensuing conflict.

Although the intended tenant agency never occupied the building, the Railroad Retirement Board Building is significant not only for the role it played in the redevelopment of Southwest, D.C., but also for its innovative building materials and unique style. Built during a transitory period in federal architecture, the building combines emerging modernism with late 19th century revivalism.

Last Reviewed: 2022-04-19