Candler Building

Wednesday, October 1, 2003
For Immediate Release

SSA logo

Press Office header

Jim Courtney, Press Officer
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973



Baltimore Building the First Operational Headquarters for the

Social Security Administration

Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security, today unveiled an historical marker at the Candler Building in downtown Baltimore.  The marker commemorates the Candler Building as the Agency’s first home and honors the men and women who began the massive task of setting up and operating America’s Social Security system.

“Since our program’s inception, Social Security has been blessed by dedicated, hard-working employees,” said Commissioner Barnhart.  “Caring and compassionate people from across this nation joined together to undertake what was then called the largest bookkeeping operation in the world.  Social Security’s well-deserved reputation for delivering outstanding service has its origins right here in the Candler Building."

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, government planners started looking for a building to house the new program.  Since a suitable structure was not available in Washington, D.C. at the time, Social Security chose the Candler Building which was able to house the volume of records and equipment needed to begin operations in October 1936. 

With the new Social Security system scheduled to take effect on January 1, 1937, Social Security immediately began recruiting and hiring employees.  Under the civil service regulations of the time, each state had to have a proportional share of the Depression-era government hiring.  By the end of December, over 2,500 employees from across the United States had reported for duty at the Candler Building.

Social Security’s operational headquarters remained in the Candler Building until January 1960 when it moved into its current Woodlawn location.  At the time of the move, there were about 5,300 Social Security employees working onsite.  Today, more than 6,300 employees work at Social Security’s Woodlawn headquarters complex.

“The work that went on in this building -- from issuing Social Security numbers, to maintaining earnings records and calculating benefits -- made a difference in the lives of millions of people,” Commissioner Barnhart said.  “Today, Social Security touches nearly every American family.  I’m pleased to say that current Social Security employees are proudly following in the tradition of the people who so honorably served at this building.”

The historical marker was made possible by donations from the Social Security Employees’ Activities Association, the SSA Baltimore Federal Credit Union, the American Federation of Government Employees, the Social Security Alumni Association and current and former Social Security employees.

The Candler Building, located at 111 Market Place,  is currently owned by REIT Management and Research, LLC.  Attached is a fact sheet on the Candler Building, the people who worked in the building and the work performed there.

# # #