Western High School (Duke Ellington School of the Arts)

This monumental hilltop school was one of DC's first buildings designed specifically for high school education.

Western High School is among the city’s grandest Classical Revival school buildings, poised like a temple of learning on the heights above Georgetown. Built in between 1897 and 1898, it is one of the city’s first buildings constructed specifically for high school use. The design, by architect Harry B. Davis, is notable not just for its monumental Ionic portico and rejection of Victorian style, but also for its landscaped setting—an innovation attributable to the mature landscape that already existed on the site, a former estate known as The Cedars.

Organized in 1890 and first housed at the old Curtis School on O Street, the school originally served white students in the western section of the District and suburbs. In 1974, the  former Western High School became the Duke Ellington School for the Arts and accepted its first students in the arts . Two years later, in 1976, it graduated its last regular high school class. 

DC Inventory: May 23, 2002
National Register: July 25, 2003



1698 35th Street, NW