If you’re in Franklin Square waiting on a food truck to make your lunch, you may glance at this but now won’t have to wonder what the story is behind the boarded, brick Franklin School. Dreamed up by architect Adolf Cluss and opened in 1865, this pre-20th century monolith presented a dreamy gingerbread house style exterior to the District while inside there were wide open spaces, sunlight and prominent ventilation (starting to sound like your ideal apartment?) in hopes of creating a modern school building. Courtesy of Ghosts of DC, here’s what it would have looked like around the time that local food vendors sold lunch from Model Ts (jk). And speaking of ghosts, here’s a glance into that yesteryear with some photos with children learning in classrooms at the Franklin School.
Contrasted tile, prominent slanted attic (check it out from the inside), mini-towers and intricate stonework tie together in this unoccupied school, designed to get attention (whether of passersby or Congress). Inside, classical flourishes like Corinthian column toppers and grand archways hinted at the aim of a successful educational program. The Franklin School was host to a scientific experiment by Alexander Graham Bell involving the first wireless telephone- a beam of light shone through the window of the Franklin School to Bell’s laboratory (located across the way at 1325 L St, NW). Recently, the school has been home to Occupy Wall Street protesters and the homeless, but Washington, DC wants to rent it out for the next 20 to 50 years to an organization that can pay for its restoration.