The original home of William McKinley Manual Training School, this building completed in 1902 for white students (at the same time as its counterpart Armstrong for African-American students) was the product of an important trend in the educational philosophy of the period. By the end of the 19th century, educators nationwide began to promote the idea of industrial education alongside a more traditional academic one that prepared high school students for college. Architecturally, the imposing buff brick and limestone structure designed by Henry Ives Cobb reflects both the city’s attempt to improve public school design through the use of private architects, and Cobb’s Chicago origins, particularly in the third-floor running arcade of Romanesque arches. When McKinley moved to its larger Eckington campus in 1928, this building was converted to Shaw Junior High School, for African-American students. From the beginning, Shaw was overcrowded and the building deteriorating, and as conditions worsened, the building—dubbed Shameful Shaw—became emblematic of the city’s neglect of African Americans. By the 1960s, the surrounding neighborhood became the Shaw Urban Renewal area.
DC Inventory: September 25, 2008
National Register: December 22, 2008