Originally situated under the protective watch of Fort Stevens, and now adjacent to the greensward of park lands connecting the Civil War forts, the school documents the presence of Washington's vanished refugee settlements and their dependence on military encampments. For many years, the Military Road School served as the only school available to African American students in a large area of upper Northwest. Oral testimony also documents that the school served as a symbolic social and community center for residents in the area.
The new building, as one of the city's first public buildings designed by the office of Municipal Architect (established 1909), and reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (established 1910), reflects attempts during the Progressive era to enhance the quality of public architecture throughout the city. It is a fine representative example of the work of Washington architect Snowden Ashford, built in 1911-12. The building is 2-1/2 stories, one room deep with a central entrance porch, gently flared hipped roof, wide scrolled eaves, and octagonal cupola; facades are red brick accented by stucco panels and limestone trim; to maintain left-hand daylighting in all four classrooms, the large banks of multi-paned windows on one side of the facade are balanced by recessed brick panels on the other. The site may possess archaeological potential.
With public school desegregation, the school was closed in 1954, and has been used for various public and education activities since that time.
DC designation July 23, 1998
National Register listing July 25, 2003