Originally located in Colonial Beach, Virginia, the Episcopal Home for Children (EHC) got its start as a convalescent home for children between the ages of six and sixteen. Initially known as the Bell Home for Children, daily programs involved recreational activities, prayer services, and free time. From 1895 to 1907, facilities in Anacostia housed around 50 children during the school year, who spent their summers in Colonial Beach.
In 1907, the home officially changed its name to the Episcopal Home for Children. Consistent issues of obtaining appropriate funds plagued the organization until a slew of donations in the late 1920s. Plans for expansion of the organization into Northwest Washington resulted in a building project began on January 28, 1930. Designed by Appleton P. Clark Jr., the original home consists of three main buildings (two residential, one primarily educational) oriented around a central plaza (for communal gathering). The Classical Revival style design is accompanied by notable Georgian and Colonial influences. EHC represents a significant architectural example of a children’s home in this period of progressive efforts to care for neglected, underprivileged, and emotionally challenged children.
In 1957, an organizational decision was made to close the orphanage and provide educational and residential services for emotionally challenged children. In 1959, the new program launched and provided treatment for eight girls and fifteen boys. By the 1960s, the organization added a day treatment program through additional funding from the DeVore Foundation and the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation. In 1960, the name changed from Episcopal Center for Children and began to offer integrated services to all children, regardless of race.
In 2002, the EHC stopped providing residential care to instead focus on educational and child treatment services. In 2019, the center shut down the K-8 therapeutic school for emotionally challenged children, but continues to provide certain after-school programs.
This property is significant as an example of Progressive Era movements that sought to improve society through public reform efforts. In addition, the structure is valuable for its design by Appleton P. Clark Jr., a renowned architect who left a notable mark on the nation’s capital.
DC Inventory: February 25, 2021