The five-story Winder Building towered over many of its neighbors when it opened in 1848. (The Web site of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which now occupies the building, describes the steel-beamed structure as "Washington's first skyscraper.")
The building, not open today to the public, was intended to house government offices, and many departments of the Army moved to the Winder Building during the Civil War. Gens. Winfield Scott and Ulysses S. Grant had offices here. Its height came in especially handy for communications; the U.S. Army Signal Corps established a station on the roof, from which it sent flag signals to forts and troops in the field in Northern Virginia.
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