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From the Archives: Bike Racks on Capitol Hill

Bill from the Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Co. to the Architect of the Capitol
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Advertising flyer from the Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Co.
Advertising from the Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Co.
Letter from Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Company to the Architect of the Capitol
Letter from Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Company to the Architect of the Capitol

Andria Leo, archivist for the Architect of the Capitol, discovered historical documents showing the purchase of the first bike racks on Capitol Hill.

Parking in Washington, D.C. has always been a challenge, but did you know they have been working to accommodate commuters on Capitol Hill for more than a century? Back in 1896, the Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Co. was hired by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), Edward Clark, to provide bike stands for the Capitol Building.

The "Lawn Cycle Stand" purchased by the AOC was marketed as the only portable wood cycle stand on the market (see flyer, right). They were purchased for only $5.85 and installed throughout the Capitol.

In a letter to the Architect of the Capitol (see letter, far right), Lawn Cycle Stand Manufacturing Co. advised Clark, "The seven-wheel-pine rack I believe will best fit the space between the Columns, in the Circle where the Wheels are now kept." I believe this might be in reference to the Capitol Crypt, with its 40 Doric Columns, which was used to store bicycles in the late 1800s – early 1900s.

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