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Cook & Stoddard Company: Cadillac’s Glory Days in Downtown Washington

Learn the history of luxury automaker Cadillac's first major dealer showroom in downtown Washington DC. The Cook & Stoddard Company location on Connecticut Avenue was the go-to destination for politician bigwigs, businessmen, and auto enthusiasts to experience new Cadillac models in their prime from 1912 to the late 1920s.
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Cook & Stoddard Company Sold Luxury Vehicles on Connecticut Avenue

In the early 20th century, the Cook & Stoddard Company operated an auto dealership at 1138 Connecticut Avenue NW in downtown Washington DC. They were the leading seller of Cadillac motor cars in the city prior to World War I. The elegant showroom and garage facility first opened in 1912, housing Cadillacs and other luxury vehicles of the day.

A historic photograph, created between 1910 and 1926, depicting the Washington Cadillac Co. The image is a glass negative, characteristic of early 20th-century photography. The photograph's title and details were provided by unverified data from the National Photo Company, indicated on the negative or its sleeve.
Echoes of Early Automotive Era: The Washington Cadillac Co. – A Moment in Time Captured Between 1910 and 1926, Preserved in a Glass Negative by the National Photo Company.

When the new salesroom opened in 1912, The Washington Post took note of its grand accommodations:

“The quarters are complete and spacious, taking up the whole imposing granite front of the place, which has been specially planned and built for the garaging and exhibiting of automobiles.”

The Cook & Stoddard Company aimed to provide a top-notch sales experience befitting luxury brands like Cadillac.

Dealership Attracted Washington Elites and Auto Enthusiasts

The showroom quickly became a popular attraction in Washington, drawing society’s elite and everyday car enthusiasts alike. When new Cadillac models were unveiled in 1914, it sparked quite a scene:

“Large crowds at the salesroom of Cook & Stoddard Company viewed the new 1915 model of the Cadillac car yesterday…In appearance, appointments and equipment the new car won admiration.”

That year’s model generated buzz for its improved features:

“The new model seen yesterday was the eight-cylinder car, which has been improved in minor features of equipment, the chassis remaining precisely as it was last year.”

The superior Cadillacs appealed to various auto buyers – from politicians to businessmen to everyday motorists.

A black and white photograph from 1927 showing the interior of the Washington-Cadillac showroom on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. On the left is a vintage Cadillac, and on the right is the new LaSalle, marking its first year as Cadillac's "companion make." This image was captured on a National Photo Company glass negative.
Step Back in Time: The 1927 Cadillac Showroom in Washington, D.C. – A Glimpse of Automotive History with the Vintage Cadillac and the Debut of the LaSalle.

Showroom Moved as Cadillac Brand Expanded Nationwide

While Cook & Stoddard remained deeply linked to Cadillac in Washington for over 15 years, the automaker began expanding nationwide in the late 1920s. As custom-built Cadillacs catering to elite tastes were being showcased more broadly, Cook & Stoddard’s singular position shifted.

By the 1930s Cadillac no longer had an exclusive regional dealer but several certified outlets in the capital area. The era of crowds flocking to Connecticut Ave for the latest Cadillacs drew to a close.

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