It’s been a while since GM added an entry to his Survey of Historic School Buildings series, but today he inches closer to checking off all of them: the Fillmore School.
1801 35th St.
Current Owner: Corcoran School of Art
Before getting too far into the discussion, GM would like to first address the jurisdictional question: yes the Fillmore School is in Georgetown. Barely. According to federal law, the Georgetown historic district line runs down the middle of 35th st. between Reservoir Rd. and Wisconsin Ave. So Fillmore is in Georgetown, the homes across the street are (technically) not. Subject matter jurisdiction established.
The Fillmore School was built in 1893 and named (presumably) in honor of our last Whig and most comically named president: Millard Fillmore. It was built to serve upper Georgetown’s white population. Ultimately it would be Burleith’s local elementary school too, but most of Burleith was completely undeveloped until the 1920s.
GM searched the Washington Post archives for stories about the early years of Fillmore, and only came up with a handful of tidbits. In June 1894, the teachers and students of Fillmore gave a concert at Western High School, which was then located in the Curtis School (which used to be next to Hyde). The program included pieces by the Sawyer Fife and Drum corps. and the Mother Goose Cantata. Continue reading
As part of GM’s continuing series surveying the historic school buildings in Georgetown he turns today to another condofied school: The Phillips School.
Wendell Phillips School
2735 Olive St.
Current Owner: Private Residences
The Phillips school was built in 1890 to serve east Georgetown’s large African-American population. It was named after the abolitionist Wendell Phillips.
Starting in 1866, the Black population of Georgetown was served by the Chamberlain School which stood on 26th St. between P and Q Streets. This part of the neighborhood was the center of Georgetown’s African-American population and was referred to as Herring Hill.
Almost immediately, the Chamberlain School was overcrowded. A survey taken by the District police department under orders of Congress-this was Reconstruction, and Congress was concerned that Black schools were not receiving adequate funding to meet their needs-found that Chamberlain was attended by 400 students. This overcrowding lead to the construction in 1885 of the Wormley School in west Georgetown. Continue reading
2009 was the first full year of the Georgetown Metropolitan’s existence (except, of course, for it’s earlier existence as a genuine newspaper). While there were certainly some nights when GM has to stretch for content, overall Georgetown provided plenty of stories this year to fill these pages. So before we ring in 2010, GM wants to take one more look back at the year that was in Georgetown.
A Bad Apple Turned Good
2009 started off with a bang in Georgetown as Apple had four different designs rejected for its proposed store at 1220 Wisconsin Ave. While the decisions to reject the designs weren’t being made by “Georgetown,” there were howls of complaints from commentators who should know better lamenting about the monied-elite squashing their dreams of a District-based Apple Store.
The fact is that Apple simply made several bad decisions, perhaps out of pique, before they finally realized what they were up against. The first design was rejected based on the mild complaint that the wall of glass along the sidewalk was too monotonous:
Rather than actually address those concerns they went off the deep end and proposed these two successive designs, which may have their own merit but which are completely inappropriate for Georgetown:
Two designs later, Apple finally got a design approved by simply going back to the first design and making the glass wall slightly less monotonous. You know, like the Old Georgetown Board was asking for from the beginning. Continue reading
As part of GM’s continuing series surveying the historic school buildings in Georgetown he turns today to the last remaining open public elementary school in Georgetown: Hyde School.
Anthony Hyde School
3219 O St.
Architect: Arthur B. Heaton
Current Owner: The District of Columbia
Hyde Elementary School was constructed in 1907. It was named after a Georgetown businessman and schools advocate Anthony J. Hyde who lived from 1810 to 1892.
Anthony Hyde was a leading proponent for the construction of the Curtis School which in 1875 was the first school building erected on the block between O and P streets just west of Wisconsin. Soon after the Curtis School was constructed, the Addison School was built right next to it.
By the turn of the century, these two school buildings were not enough for Georgetown’s school population. Thus on the same campus as Curtis and Addison, Hyde Elementary was built. Continue reading
As part of GM’s continuing series on the historic school buildings in Georgetown today he explores the historically significant Wormley School.
The Wormley School
3325 Prospect St.
Current Owner: Private residences
Brief Story: The Wormley School was built and opened in 1885.
James Wormley - Courtesy of Blackpast.org
It was built specifically to educate Black children and was named in honor of James Wormley, a prominent African-American from Washington who lived from 1819 to 1884. Among other ventures, Wormley ran the Wormley Hotel at the corner of 15th and H. Its proximity to the White House made it a perfect location for secret meetings between the Tilden and Hayes factions during the great election controversy of 1876.
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
Current Use: Private Residence
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. Continue reading
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Last week GM began a new series, a survey of the historic school buildings of Georgetown. Today he continues with the second school building: the West Georgetown School.
West Georgetown School
1640 Wisconsin Ave.
Architect: Snowden Ashford
Current Owner: American College of Surgeons
Current Use: Commercial Office Space
Brief Story: You wouldn’t think it was once a school from looking at it, but the elegant Neo-Georgian building at 1640 Wisconsin Ave. was once the West Georgetown School.
There were actually two West Georgetown Schools. Continue reading
Sometimes it seems that there are few children living in Georgetown. While GM has tried to rebut that perception with statistics, it is undeniable that before the late 20th century, there were many more children in Georgetown. What is more proof of that than the presence in Georgetown of no fewer than nine historic school buildings?
They’re there surely, but who but the longest term residents know much about their histories? GM has decided to perform a survey of Georgetown historic schools. He will piece together what information he can find to document the stories of these beautiful buildings (much of the research will come from the wonderful architectural survey performed in 1969 by the US Commission on the Fine Arts and led by Charles Atherton).
First up: GM’s neighbor, the Jackson School.
The Jackson School
3048 R St.
Current Owner: DC Government
Current Use: Jackson Art Center artists’ studios Continue reading