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The original terminal represented the epitome of a new building type - motor age architecture for motor age transportation - and it was designed to be the flagship of all Greyhound terminals. True to its time, it was intended to combine form and function, to convey the dynamism of the company, and suggest the world-of-tomorrow comfort of Greyhound coaches. The architects were the Louisville firm of Wischmeyer, Arrasmith & Elswick who were specialists in bus terminals. No two terminals across the country were alike, but each had a Greyhound signature - rather theatrical, like the cinema, and always with a strong entrance. it was an important building, featured in many publications for its modern finishes and efficient design.
The terminal was finished just in time for 24-hour use in WWII, as Washington became the hub of the nation. But eventually, bus transport began to decline, and in 1976, it was “modernized” - actually slipcovered in a cheap metal covering and then abandoned altogether and slated for demolition. The Art Deco Society led the battle to save it. We knew it was still there, because we found the firm that covered it and confirmed that they had not damaged the original facade. So we were able to landmark a building you couldn’t see. Then we had to work with a developer (several, in fact, until the right one bought the site) to create a sensitive reuse and a harmonious design. This was achieved in 1991 with architects Keyes Condon Florance Eichbaum Esocoff King. The first 42 feet of the terminal remain, meticulously restored and serving the office building as a lobby and storefronts. Inside is an information desk adapted from the ticket booth and an explanatory display that is open on weekdays.