Everyone in Anacostia knows that the big chair is located on Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue and V Street, S.E. The big chair was built for Curtis Brothers Furniture Company, which was established in 1926. Bassett Furniture Industries of Virginia constructed it. Based on a Duncan Fife design, this special chair was built from original plans by Leo A. Jiranek. At the time, it was said to be the largest chair in the world. The chair is made from African mahogany and weighs 4,600 pounds. It is 19 ½ feet high and stands on a concrete, 4-foot-high pedestal. Its seat is as large as two double-sized beds.
The big chair has been in Anacostia since 1959. It was built in Bassett, Virginia, and transported by truck to the community. Due to the chair’s height, a special route was chosen for the two-week trip. In August 1960, Lynn Arnold lived on top of the big chair, inside of a glass house, for forty-seven days. She did this to promote Curtis Brothers.
The Curtis Brothers Furniture Company closed in 1973. The buildings on King Avenue have been renovated and are now the homes of the D.C. Lottery Board and the Anacostia Professional Building.