Designed by Nathan C. Wyeth, Thomas Jefferson Junior High School’s exemplary Georgian Revival Style is evidenced through architectural symmetry, a cupola over the main block, and a two-story entry surround with Doric pilasters. The Junior High School itself was a product of the Five-Year School Building Program Act, passed in 1925. Congress passed this program, which directly impacted Washington, DC, in response to national problems of school overcrowding and school closures brought about by unsuitable building design and construction. The goal of the law was to generate a model of school design that would alleviate these issues—Thomas Jefferson Junior High School stands as one of these early models.
After selection of a building site in 1929, a decade went by before construction began on Thomas Jefferson Junior High School. Funds were delayed as a result of the Great Depression and legal disputes over the site’s location. The school was opened in 1940.
Thomas Jefferson Junior High School is historically significant as a representation of national and local efforts through the DC Board of Education to improve the physical condition and educational quality of American schools. As one of the last schools to be designed in the Georgian Revival style in the District, Thomas Jefferson Junior High School is architecturally significant and demonstrates exemplary design. It remains a valuable educational and community resource as the current site for Jefferson Middle School Academy.
DC Inventory: January 28, 2021