The James Ormond Wilson Teachers' College, originally known as the Washington Normal School, is a Elizabethan Revival brick building with two floors, an attic and basement. Erected from 1911-1912, the school sits on a 95,138 square foot site. The ground had been filled on a tributary, and the foundation was designed without regard to the original land contours. In a later repair, new steel beams and turn buckle rods were installed to hold the brick structure together.
The Wilson Normal School is significant for its contribution to the public education movement in Washington DC in the advancement of teacher training. Starting in 1839 by such leaders as Horace Mann, James Carter, Henry Barnard, and Tomas Gallaudet, the teacher education movement became a vital part of promoting the United States as the foundation of democracy. The Wilson Normal School is a purpose-built public school building, it is an outstanding example of a public school building designed in the Office of Municipal Architect. The building is an excellent example of Elizabethan Revival architecture, lauded at its time for its expanse of windows, as well as technical improvements such as steam heat.
The Washington Normal School changed its name to the James Ormond Wilson Normal School in 1913 to honor the then-superintendent of D.C. schools.
Nominated by Historic Washington Architecture, Inc., and designated on the DC Inventory on November 20, 2014
Added to National Register: March 31, 2015