Monday, June 9, 2008

Mystery Solved: Acacia Life Building

I was close to writing a post about this metal building replica and the new mystery surrounding it. However, the true identification is now confirmed. It’s the Acacia Life Insurance Company located in Washington, D.C. I began to research the souvenir building for this blog and discovered the Monumental Miniatures book misidentified it as the Montgomery Ward building in Baltimore, Md. (MM#1073) I could not find a photo of the real building online and then reached out to The Baltimore Architecture Foundation for information. They agreed this building replica is not the Baltimore Montgomery Ward building (which is still standing and has now been converted to office space). The confusion was an understandable mistake because the presentation plaque on the replica’s base has a ‘Montgomery’ signature on it. The plaque reads “ To (engraved name) in appreciation of your outstanding contribution. December 26, 1952” and a signature which appears to be ‘W Montgomery.’ I brought the replica to the SBCS convention in Charlottesville recently and spoke about this newly unidentified replica during the ‘show & tell’ portion. I could ‘show’ it because I have one in my collection, but I could only ‘tell’ about my discovery that it was misidentified and then ask if any other collectors knew its true location. Fellow collectors suggested it looked like a hospital or insurance building. Then, one convention attendee, Russell, who also lives in the D.C. area, thought it looked like a building near the U.S. Capital and Union Station. It was a great lead and when I visited the building in D.C., it was a bit hard to tell, but it seemed like the correct building. Using Google Earth, I confirmed the location from above which clearly shows the unique shape and footprint. Originally built in 1936 as the Masonic Mutual Life Relief Association, it later became Acacia Life Insurance Company and served as their headquarters until 1997. It’s an example of neo classic art deco architecture and was designed by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon who also designed the Empire State Building. Located at 51 Louisiana Ave, the building is now offices for Jones Day, the second largest law firm in the United States. Do you know of other unidentified souvenir building replicas? Let us know using the comments link below or send me an email.

1 comment:

glenn said...

Hi. I have a clear glass bottle, about 14" high, that is a deco/streamline building that I can't identify. How can I send you a photo to get your thoughts?

Glenn Hennessey
Hennessey, Ink

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