Now and A Long Time Ago: West Georgetown School

This week on Now and a Long Time Ago, GM heads up old “High Street” (now known as Wisconsin Ave.) to visit the old West Georgetown school. GM has written about this school before:

[Opened in 1910] the new West Georgetown School…was not like other schools in Georgetown. It was a vocational school targeted towards poor mothers.

Opening in 1912, the school offered cooking and food preservation classes to adults. The school eventually became known as the Central Lunch Kitchen and in 1934 began serving free hot lunches to 4,500 children as part of the Civil Works Administration. The school provided mothers with culinary and child care instruction.  It also taught reading to illiterate adults.

From 1942 through 1949 the school offered canning classes as part of a culinary arts program. It appears that by 1950 the building no longer hosted classes and was converted to office and storage space for the school system.

The District finally sold the building in 1954. It has held a variety of tenants, most recently the American College of Surgeons. It was sold last year to the African Union, which is in the process of renovating the building.

The old photo above is probably from around 1917. One thing that GM noticed from the old photo: overhead wires. That supposed scourge of historical vistas was here in Georgetown north of P St. (where streetcars switched from underground to overhead power).

2 Comments

Filed under Now and a Long Time Ago

2 responses to “Now and A Long Time Ago: West Georgetown School

  1. expect the cmte of 100 to show up at your door requesting access to the blog so they can scrub this down the memory hole. can’t have anyone think there were EVER overhead wires anywhere! 😉

  2. Nemo

    But of course, Georgetown would have had overhead wires — didn’t the Act apply only to the “Old City,” i.e., within the Florida Avenue boundaries? In fact, if I’m not mistaken, the Wisconsin Avenue streetcars changed over from underground “plows” to overhead wires and catenaries at the intersection of Wisconsin and “Q” Streets, just south of the West Georgetown School. Back when Metro first opened in the mid 70s, The Post carried a fascinating profile of one of the first class of subway motormen, who was probably in his 60s at the time. He had worked his way up in the old Capital Traction/DC Transit system, where one of his first jobs had been as a “pit boy” assigned to Wisconsin and “Q.” He sat in a hole in the street, and when a streetcar came to his station, his job was to unhitch the underground connection to the electric cable while the car’s motorman was ratcheting up the catenary to connect w/ the overhead wire. Must have been a h***ish job during the summer months.

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