James Ormond Wilson Normal School

The Wilson Normal School is a municipal public school building with a history of training DC teachers.

The James Ormond Wilson Teachers' College, originally known as the Washington Normal School, is an Elizabethan Revival brick building with two floors, an attic and basement. Erected between 1911 and 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.

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 by the Office of Municipal Architect Snowden Ashford. 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 DC schools.

Nominated by Historic Washington Architecture
DC Inventory: November 20, 2014
National Register: March 31, 2015



1100 Harvard Street NW