Designed by Nathan C. Wyeth, Calvin Coolidge Senior High School (Coolidge High School) constitutes a significant example of Georgian Revival architecture in the District—and remains part of the District’s early efforts to improve local education.
Coolidge High School is particularly important as one of the last revivalist architectural style structures constructed for the purpose of local schooling. In addition to the rise of modernist architecture, economic constraints in the following decades ultimately led to the local government’s movement away from stylistic detailing and elaborate designs for public schools. Built prior to these restrictions, Coolidge High School’s Georgian Revival style is distinguishable in its hipped roofs, elaborate door surrounds, a wide pavilion and portico, and the crowning cupola atop the main block.
Constructed between 1937 and 1940, Coolidge High School’s establishment was a result of school overcrowding in the developing areas of the District. Increasing population growth and the expansion of residential development in the early 20th century led to the Board of Education’s Five-Year Building Plan proposal in 1924 and its passage in 1925. Despite building interruptions due to the Great Depression and an influx of even more District residents following the expansion of federal jobs through the New Deal, numerous schools were constructed under the Five-Year Building Plan--notable examples in the city include Thomas Jefferson Junior High School and Woodrow Wilson High School.
Coolidge High School opened its doors to the Takoma Park neighborhood in 1940, for at least 750 students on their first day. The school continues to serve the surrounding area under the same name and in many of the same spaces as dedicated teachers and students did over 75 years ago.
DC Inventory: September 23, 2021