“2430 E St. NW” was the address of the original CIA Headquarters. This newly formed agency took over the site from its wartime predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services. The E Street Complex is across from the present-day US State Department in Washington, DC.
For several years, the entrance of the original CIA Headquarters buildings had no sign. President Eisenhower was on his way to church one Sunday morning. He wished to drop his brother Milton off at CIA for a meeting with the Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles. Because there was no sign, the White House driver had great difficulty finding the entrance. This upset the President. The following day, President Eisenhower called Dulles and ordered a sign be placed at the entrance. The President believed that the E Street address was well known as CIA Headquarters and that the absence of a sign fooled no one. The immediate result was that a sign with the Agency name and seal was placed on the fence at the entrance.
When the fence and North Building bordering the entrance were demolished to make room for the present-day E-Street Expressway, the sign was preserved and is now on display in the CIA Museum.
117 cm x 94 cm x 4 cm
(L x W x H))
The Debrief: Behind the Artifact - E St. Sign
We’re not open to the public here at CIA headquarters. So sometimes when I’m giving a tour people will ask me if you’re such a super secret organization, why is there a sign on the GW Parkway telling people how to get to the CIA or a really large sign at your entrance saying Central Intelligence Agency?
Well, it all goes back to the sign right here.
The CIA was originally located in downtown DC on E Street.
After the war we took over the location from our predecessor the Office of Strategic Services. For a long time there was no sign at the door, so no one really knew our location. That is until one day President Eisenhower’s brother had a meeting with our Director Alan Dulles.
The White House driver drove around for quite a while because he could not find our location. This did not make the President very happy. The next day, President Eisenhower called Director Dulles and demanded that a sign be placed at our entrance.
He said that the E Street location was well-known and that the lack of a sign was fooling no one. The immediate result was that a sign with our seal and name be placed at the entrance.