Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.
"Be practical this Christmas," read a sign put up in the headquarters of Washington D.C.'s Potomac Electric Power Company. "Give electrical gifts." This was 1941, and the U.S. had just joined World War II, but it doesn't look like PEPCO spared any expenses in decking out their nine-story building with Christmas lights, trees, wreaths, and numerous displays touting early '40s electrical gadgets, like giant vacuum cleaners wrapped in ribbons and massive wooden victrolas. As the above photo makes clear, the building, draped in tinsel with glowing stars and lights spelling out "Merry Christmas," became a rather popular make-out spot. The whole set-up is pretty glorious.
· Electric Institute of Washington, Potomac Electric Power Co. building, Christmas 1941 [Library of Congress' Theodor Horydczak Collection]
· All Monochromes posts [Curbed National]