Parr Franconia Warehouse

The Parr Franconia Warehouse, also known as the GSA Warehouse, is a large warehouse complex owned and used by the General Services Administration in Springfield.

The warehouse was constructed by the Parr Warehouse Company of San Francisco, owned by Fred A. Parr. Parr was the winning bidder on the GSA's solicitation of September 19, 1951, for 1.25 million square feet of warehouse space within 15 miles of Washington, D.C.

Beginning in the fall of 1952, the Barrett and Hilp company of San Francisco constructed two buildings, designed by architects Ward and Bolles, also of San Francisco, at a cost of nearly $7 million.[1][2][3]

The facility was novel not only in its scale; the larger of the two warehouses constructed was 500 feet wide and 2000 feet long, but in its method of erection, being one of the first commercial examples of tilt-up construction. The concrete walls were poured flat, then raised by crane to their final position before being topped with prefabricated arched wood trusses to support the roof.[3][4][5]

By August 1953, the GSA had moved in to the still-incomplete facility.[3]

On June 24, 1954, the Park Avenue Methodist Church of New York City purchased the building for $6,634,000.[6]


A section of the wooden roof measuring 75 by 100 feet collapsed late on February 4, 1961.[7]

40-year-old supervisor David Beaddy was shot in the left side with a .22 caliber rifle while operating a forklift at the complex on February 13, 1973. Four local youths, aged 13 through 16, who had been using a Marlin rifle to shoot birds, were arrested and charged with maiming.[8]

A 20,000 square foot section of the roof, which was being repaired by the A.A. Beiro Construction company of Alexandria, collapsed on July 27, 1978.[9]


  1. "Work Scheduled To Start Soon on GSA Warehouse" Evening Star, 6 Sep. 1952, Two Star, p. 20. NewsBank. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
  2. "Mammoth Warehouse to Rise in Virginia for GSA Stores." The Washington Post (1923-1954): 1. Sep 07 1952. ProQuest. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Millen, Willam A. "U.S. Moves Into Big Warehouse Built Privately in Franconia" Evening Star, 13 Aug. 1953, Two Star, p. 25. NewsBank. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
  4. Herron, Paul M. "'Tilt-Slab' and Trussed Roof Speeds Warehouse Work." The Washington Post (1923-1954): 1. May 31 1953. ProQuest. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  5. David, Heather. "From the Ashes Rises a Tribute." Continuity 19 (Summer 2008): 5.Preservation Action Council of San Jose. Preservation Action Council of San Jose, Summer 2008. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  6. "Church Buys Big Fairfax Warehouse." The Washington Post and Times Herald (1954-1959): 5. Jul 04 1954. ProQuest. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  7. "Warehouse Roof Falls." The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973): 1. Feb 06 1961. ProQuest. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.
  8. "Worker Shot, Boys Seized. Evening Star, 14 Feb. 1973, NIGHT FINAL, p. 71. NewsBank. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
  9. Harden, Blaine. "Roof at GSA Warehouse Collapses." The Washington Post (1974-Current file): 1. Jul 28 1978. ProQuest. Web. 14 Feb. 2018.