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George Washington ‘High School’ to get new marker detailing its New Deal and desegregation history

Today, George Washington is one of the city’s two public middle schools, but the building’s history as white-only high school and the process of desegregation is being told in a new historical marker.

The George Washington High School Alumni Association is planning a dedication of the Virginia Historical Marker in front of the school on Saturday, July 23 at 11 a.m, according to the Office of Historic Alexandria.

“The marker will detail the history of George Washington High School (1935-1971) and its significance to the City of Alexandria, Virginia,” the office said.

The historical marker includes details about the building’s Art Deco style and funding from the New Deal program. The building has notably been showing its age recently, with mold issues and faulty fire alarms.

The marker reads:

The City of Alexandria purchased 15.5 acres here in 1933 and opened George Washington High School in 1935. For two decades this was the city’s only public high school for white students. The Art Deco-style buildin was constructed with funding from the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, a New Deal agency that helped modernize the nation’s infreastructure during the Great Depression.

Later expanded, the school served as an important community gathering place for the arts and athletics. Alexandria’s school system was desegregated in 1965. This campus, which closed as a four-year high school in 1971 and later became a middle school, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.