Mission to Preserve Former OSS Headquarters

The former OSS headquarters is an important landmark, as it marks the location in which the future of American espionage was formed. The Office of Strategic Services, predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, was a key component in the secret battles for information waged during the Second World War and the pursuant Cold War. Now, the OSS headquarters might be no more unless former agents are able to save it.

The offices themselves are rather inconspicuous, which makes sense given their purpose. Nobody could tell from first glance that behind these walls, men used to devise innovations in spy gear and formulate propagandist media to unsettle enemy forces. The Office of Strategic Services had many purposes, and it comes as no surprise that the OSS headquarters once housed the startup version of the CIA. Despite its importance, the building was never nominated for landmark status. Now, the building might become a distant memory as the State Department reviews plans to renovate the offices to create more commercial space for businesses.

Veterans of the Strategic Services as well as lobbyists for the preservation of historic buildings will not let these plans move forward without a fight. Many of them were unaware that the building which formerly housed the OSS headquarters was not already considered a historic landmark. They are now fighting to have the site protected by applying for landmark status. Many who do not fully understand the renovation plans are worried the site may be torn down completely, The Washington Post reports.

Luckily, it appears that their steps to protect the building may be somewhat unnecessary. Those who are in charge of the renovation efforts are aware of the site’s importance, and are already considering the implementation of plans to preserve the building’s history. Certain rooms within the OSS headquarters, such as the director’s office, are already adorned with historic memorabilia put on display for the benefit of all who see it. They plan to take a full year to consider how to best increase space within the site while still preserving its sense of purpose. Some veterans are still wary of these plans, and hope that having the site considered a historic landmark will help to preserve as much of the building as possible.

The OSS headquarters is not one of the most famous landmarks in the United States, but many veterans feel that it is still one of the most important. They are providing everything they can in the way of documentation and photographic evidence to prove that the building is worthy of preservation due to its historic use as an epicenter for intelligence gathering. While the General Services Administration of the State Department has no plans to completely annihilate the OSS headquarters, veterans are hoping to preserve the offices to the greatest extent possible so that no shred of the building’s history is lost.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE