A Survey of the Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: the Lancaster School

Survey of Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: The Lancaster School

Today for his survey of historic school buildings in Georgetown, GM sets his sights on the Lancaster School.

The Lancaster School

3126 O St.

Built: Cornerstone laid June, 1811, school opened November 18, 1811

Architect: Unknown

Current Use: Private Residence

Brief History:

The Lancaster school is both a proper name and a descriptive term. A “Lancasterian” school is a school that follows the principals of John Lancaster, who promoted a system of public education based on the one room school house model. In fact, the Lancaster School in Georgetown was the very first public school open to girls and African-Americans in the District.

Like many projects in early nineteenth century Georgetown, Francis Scott Key had his star spangled fingers in the creation of the Lancaster School. Under his encouragement, funds were raised to support the school and enable it to offer free education to poor children (if you could afford it, you paid $10 per year per student).

The first teacher of the Lancaster School was an Englishman named Robert Ould who came from the Borough School of London. The first year he taught a class of over 200 students. Apparently by 1812, the student body was nearly 300.

Unfortunately, GM was unable to track down much else about the Lancaster School after its first couple years. Regardless, being the first public school in D.C. open to girls and African Americans is probably enough of a history for any old school building to be proud of.

15 Comments

Filed under The Schools of Georgetown

15 responses to “A Survey of the Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: the Lancaster School

  1. Pingback: Survey of Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: The Wormley School «

  2. CCardwell

    Did you ever publish or research the Fillmore School on 35th, now the Corcoran College of Art & Design?

  3. GM

    Not yet. I still have to do the Fillmore School, the Corcoran School, and the Phillips School.

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  5. Pingback: Survey of Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: The Phillips School «

  6. Stephen Kosciesza

    I just found this, searching on line for the Fillmore School. I’ll be interested to see it, whenever you get to doing that school. The Corcoran School currently has their Georgetown Campus there. But I’ve just found out they’ve sold it to a developer and plan to vacate in 2011.
    I also heard from a friend that when she was in high school at the Duke Ellington School, she used to go up to the Fillmore School for her science classes. I think that must have been in the early 1980s.

  7. Pingback: Survey of Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: The Fillmore School | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  8. Pingback: Survey of Historic School Buildings in Georgetown: The Corcoran School | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  9. Interesting item. FYI: The founder of the Lancaster schools was Joseph Lancaster–not John Lancaster. Can you tell me where you got in the info on Francis Scott Key’s involvement? Thanks.

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