The Big Chair - Washington, DC
- photos taken August 2006, TMC.
The chair, a 19 1/2 foot tall replica of a Duncan Phyfe model chair was built in 1959 by the Virginia-based Bassett Furniture company for Curtis Brothers Furniture as a promotional ploy after being conceived by Charles Curtis, the brother of the company's president, as a way to draw customers to the family's furniture showroom. Curtis Brothers was once a well-known furniture retailer whose warehouse, showroom and offices were at what is now V Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, and then on Nichols Avenue.
On August 23-24, 2005, the chair was pulled apart with a backhoe and removed for restoration due to rot eating away at its legs and back. On April 25, 2006 the current owners, Curtis Properties Inc., introduced a rebuilt version, constructed from brown-painted aluminum.
In Anacostia, people still talk about the pretty woman who lived for 42 days on the big chair, high above what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, eating and sleeping and waving to the crowds who came to see her.
Text from the Original Dedication Plaque
The World's Largest Chair presented to Curtis Bros. for their
outstanding leadership and service to the public by the Bassett Furniture
Industries. The Chair made of solid Honduras Mahogany is 19 12/2 feet tall
and weighs 4600 pounds. Dedicated July 11, 1959.
Text from the Re-Dedication Plaque
The Big Chair - Re-Dedication - April 25, 2006; This community
landmark represents the Curtis Companies long-standing allegiance to the
neighborhood and steadfast commitment to unity, prosperity and good will to all
Washingtonians and friends of Anacostia.