Jefferson School
Jefferson School 1876

Jefferson School (61)

6th Street and Virginia Avenue, SW
Constructed in 1872-73, 1882 burned and then rebuilt, demolished in 1960

The Jefferson School, south of the National Mall in the fourth school district, accommodated twelve hundred students in twenty classrooms. Before construction of the school, students - who came from the immediate neighborhood - were housed in inadequate temporary structures on the site.

The design of the Jefferson School addressed the need for a large neighborhood school. With two end pavilions sited perpendicular to a long central section, it foreshadowed the schools designed by the municipal architect's office after World War I, when large population increases required more schools. Cluss commented that Jefferson was unique in many ways, benefiting from refinements of earlier school plans. The design of the auditorium was similar to that of the nearby Smithsonian Castle. The room was fanshaped with a gallery. The seating was built so that each row was higher than the row in front, allowing unobstructed sight lines. Walls were built with an insulating air space between the plastered interior surface and the brick outside walls to improve the acoustics and heating and to reduce condensation, which had been found on the walls of earlier schools, where the plaster had been applied directly to masonry.

In the same neighborhood, Cluss also designed two projects for Samuel Herman, (82) and (97), and a house / store combination for Joseph P. Herman, (96).




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