Historic Structures

Loughran Building (Bassin's Restaurant), Washington DC

Date added: October 12, 2010 Categories: Commercial

The building was constructed ca. 1872. The architect is not known. Two three-story additions were made to the north of the original four-story building. One, approximately 25' x 20', was apparently built in the late nineteenth century; the other, approximately 18' x 39', was apparently built in the early twentieth century. There were gambling establishments in the Lounghran Building during the nineteenth century, but no record of ownership or tenant is available until 1887. Baist's Real Estate Atlas for 1887 shows the building as the D. Loughran Building. Daniel Loughran and Company, wholesale tobacco sales, occupied the building from 1887 until 1929, when their business moved to H Street, N.W. Daniel Loughran was president of the company until his death in the early 1920s when his son, John, took over. Various other family members held positions in the company. Tenants in the building after the Loughran Company included a pharmacy, newspaper office, offices for the National Press Club, and Bassin's Restaurant, which remained until a fire in 1978.

The Loughran Building is four stories high and has a three bay facade. After the additions, the building measures approximately 25' x 110'. The facade is of pressed brick in stretcher bond laid in white mortar. It is now painted beige. The upper three floors have segmentally arched windows. A richly detailed cast iron window hood and sill decorates each window opening. The arched hoods have deep scotia moldings and rococo keystone ornaments. Consoles with scroll and acanthus motifs support the hoods. The ornamental window sills rest on brackets. The wooden cornice is divided into three parts, relating the building's three bays. The cornice is horizontal at the two side bays, and pedimented at the center bay. It rests on four heavy consoles. The decorative fascia is arched under the pediment. The ground floor storefront has a stone veneer to the sill line of the second floor windows. The original face brick remains beneath this veneer.

The only significant interior element is a large two-story space on the second floor. Two free standing and two engaged columns with simple plaster bases and capitals stand in a line about 6' from the west wall. A monitor above the center of the space admits light through center-pivoting clerestory windows. The lower portion of the monitor is a cove ceiling. A flat 11'-6" high ceiling runs around the room's perimeter. There are elaborate plaster and wood ornaments on the ceiling areas. Engaged columns between the clerestory windows, plaster moldings, and rosettes show evidence of a formerly rich color scheme. Traces of stencilled decoration remain on the cove ceiling.

Few original details remain in other parts of the building. The front room on the third floor has a pressed tin ceiling. Fireplaces in the two south rooms on the third and fourth floors have semi-circular or rectangular openings with cast-iron surrounds. The fireplaces on the third floor are surmounted by a marble mantelpiece.

Loughran Building (Bassin's Restaurant), Washington DC SOUTH FRONT
SOUTH FRONT