Adolf Cluss in 1880. Photo: Smithsonian Institution

Adolf Cluss: The Navy Yard Communist Who Designed Eastern Market

September 13, 2005
On September 13, 2005, Joseph L. Browne presented a lecture on Adolf Cluss, the visionary Navy Yard engineer and architect who designed Eastrn Market and many other 19th century Washington landmarks.

A friend and follower of Karl Marx in his native Germany, Adolf Cluss arrived on Capitol Hill in 1849 with grand ideas for reforming society and becoming a major architect. He eventually cooled on communism, but succeeded spectacularly as a designer of some of Washington's most distinctive buildings, including the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building and Wallach School, which was later replaced byHine Junior High. Working with Alexander "Boss" Shepherd and others, he played a major role in changing the face of Washington in the latter half of the 19th century.

Our speaker, Joseph Browne, was director of a 2005 Cluss exhibition at the Sumner School Museum.  He earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Maryland and taught history for thirty years at schools in the U.S., Germany, England and Italy. He is the author of a Maryland regional history, Sotweed to Suburbia, and co-author of the Cluss exhibition book.

Past Lectures