Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops
The Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops is a neighborhood shopping area in Washington, DC. Built in 1936, the Parking Shops were specifically an attempt to work with automobile owners by giving them a place to shop, as well as on-site parking, as opposed to on-street parking, which was the norm at the time. On July 25th of 2003, the Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it still functions as a shopping center.
Backstory and Context
In 1919, Charles Hillegeist, following his return from his wartime service, moved to Washington, DC, and in the mid-1920s, he found a job with W. C. & A. N. Miller, a realtor company. Hillegeist quickly worked his way through the company ranks, and in 1933, he had been promoted to the firm’s Vice-President position. Hillegeist soon had the idea to develop a shopping center that could accommodate the newly-introduced automobile, making a series of stores with plenty of parking on-site. Hillegeist commissioned architect Edward Corning to design the property, and construction began in 1936. The Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops was completed that same year, and it became a huge hit in the area.
The Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops were so successful, in fact, that they began to be used as a model for other parking-based shopping centers of the time. It was cited in publications such as House and Garden, Urban Land, and in The Book of Houses for the convenience it presented. The Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops continued to be used and developed in the following decades, and on July 25th of 2003, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops is still occupied by a variety of stores and services.