Now and a Long Time Ago: Corcoran School

This week for Now and a Long Time Ago, GM is back with another photo from the Wymer Maps. This one is of the Corcoran School on 28th but from M St. (Don’t get it confused with the Fillmore School on 35th, which was until a few years ago owned by the Corcoran Art School and was covered with large “Corcoran” signs. The school on 28th is actually named after Thomas Corcoran, a former mayor of Georgetown. It was his son, William Corcoran, who founded the Corcoran Art Gallery, which ran the art school until it sold it to Georgetown Washington University.)

It’s a view you can’t get anymore since the construction of the office building complex on the former playground/parking lot of the school. GM is not sure when that complex got built since it’s not in the master building database he uses, but it sure looks like it was built in the 1980s.

Here’s an aerial photo showing the once large school grounds in 1951:

GM wrote up a history of the Corcoran School back in 2012. Here’s an excerpt:

The Corcoran School was built in 1889 in east Georgetown to serve the white population. It was named after Thomas Cocoran, who served several terms as mayor of Georgetown between 1808 and 1813 and was father of William Wilson Corcoran, the founder of the Corcoran Gallery…

Like all the other Georgetown elementary schools at the time, the Corcoran School had trouble keeping full as the middle of the 20th century approached. In 1947, the school board decided to close the school. At a meeting in January 1948, though, the board voted to postpone closing the school “until it can be determined if extensive building and remodeling of homes in Georgetown will result in increased school attendance by white children.”

It didn’t, and three years later the school closed.

The building was held by DC until 1982, when a union bought it for their headquarters. Later it was occupied by the Road Builders Association. Most recently it has been used by Qatar for diplomatic purposes. It is one of the eight public elementary schools that once graced Georgetown. Only one of them was torn down, the lovely Curtis that once stood in the Hyde-Addison playground:

Two of the eight are still used for their original purposes (Hyde and Addison). Three are still owned by DC (Hyde, Addison, and Jackson). Two are condos (Wormley and Phillips).

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