We often use locations to orient us, to identify where we are. These landmarks on a map can be famous and instantly recognizable, or sometimes they’re simple markers to help us navigate. Today, head outside and photograph a landmark. Tip: Once you’ve chosen your landmark, move around to experiment with your POV, or point of view. Today, crouch or lie on the ground to get an interesting street-level angle, or walk around your landmark to look at every possible perspective.
If you are ever in Washington, D.C., take a drive down Martin Luther King Drive SE. “Sitting” tall and proud on the corner of V Street SE is a cultural landmark well-known throughout the world and is the pride of Anacostia.
The Big Chair (or Chair as it is technically known) is a public art ‘advertisement’ designed by Bassett Furniture Industries. It was a gift to honor the Curtis Companies and their leadership and service to the local neighborhood.
The original chair was made of Honduran solid mahogany. It was built in the late 1950’s and was 19 1/2 feet tall. In August 2005, the chair was taken down. It began to rot and a collapse was feared. However, the original chair has remained in storage. In April 2006, an aluminum replica of the chair was installed in its place.
According to the Washington Post, the concept for the chair came from Charles Curtis, of the Curtis Brothers Furniture company. He thought it would be a good way to get customers to the family’s showroom which was located on the grounds back in the 1950s.
The chair has an interesting history. In 1960, the Curtis Company hired a model to live “on” the chair in a specially constructed apartment. The model, Lynn Arnold, lasted 42 days. It was said she would often emerge from the apartment to wave and talk to the crowds of people who gathered to see her and the chair. Also, during the 1968 riots the chair remained untouched. Amazing, considering the damage that was done across the District.
The Big Chair continues to be a geographic landmark for those wanting directions to Southeast DC. It is also a source of pride for a neighborhood that has seen huge peaks and valleys in terms of economic development. The Big Chair is truly one of those things you “must see” to believe!
This photo was taken using my Samsung Galaxy phone. Given the size of this landmark, getting a different perspective was difficult. I did everything but lay down flat on the sidewalk, lol.