History of Northern Bus Garage

Northern Bus Garage was built in 1906 by the Richardson and Burgess construction firm as a streetcar storage and maintenance facility for the Capital Traction Company. Formerly known as the Capital Traction Company Car Barn or the Decatur Streetcar Barn, designers Wood, Donn, and Deming paid homage to Italian Renaissance Revival style with the facility's architecture. In 1926, the basement portion of the barn was leased to the Washington Rapid Transit Company for bus maintenance and storage.

1906 photograph of the streetcar bar and administrative offices during construction

Building Renovation & Maintenance

In 1959, the former streetcar storage facility was converted into a bus garage to serve the District's rapidly growing network of bus routes. By 1967, the fully converted bus garage came under ownership of Metro and became known as Northern Bus Garage. After meeting the city's bus storage, maintenance, and transportation needs for over 20 years, the garage underwent major renovations from 1987 to 1992 while still maintaining critical service for our customers.

The phased renovation included demolition of the original roof, replacement of original wood windows with aluminum windows, the addition of rooftop parking, and inserting a bus entry at the southern end of the west façade. Additionally, there were many alterations to the administrative offices and the original 1906 building elevations.

In 2019, after more than three decades of repairs and renovations, Metro determined it was best to rebuild the garage into a modern bus operations and maintenance center.

Building Preservation

The historic 14th Street façade has retained much of its original design despite several renovations over the building's 114-year history. Today, Northern Bus Garage is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as well as the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites. Metro is committed to preserving and restoring the 14th Street façade while rebuilding a safe, modern, and environmentally friendly garage.

1987 photograph showing the extent of the demolition that occurred within the bus garage