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Historic Anacostia has had some big problems over the years, but it’s always had an even bigger chair: Since 1958, a gargantuan mahogany replica of a Duncan Phyfe– style seat has stood near the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. Built as a monument to the since-shuttered Curtis Brothers furniture-store chain, the chair has sunk into
disrepair, its legs flecked with graffiti and peeling paint. Now the Gregory Project, a community organization, intends to restore the 19-foot-tall chair to its former comically oversized glory in early October. The six-day restoration will demand volunteer paint strippers, painters, and coordinators for the parade planned to cap off the event. The Gregory Project’s director, Sharon Wise, expects the restoration to beautify the neighborhood and draw attention to what she says is the chair’s metaphoric significance, representing the knowledge and hope acquired sitting in classrooms. “‘To fail is not an option,’” Wise says. “That’s what the chair symbolizes.” —Jeff Horwitz