National Training School for Girls (Former) Improvements – Washington DC

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Description

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) renovated several buildings at the National Training School for Girls in Washington DC, located at Conduit (now MacArthur Blvd) and Little Falls Road, NW.  The National Training School was a reform school administered at the time by the DC Board of Public Welfare (and not to be confused with the Nannie Burroughs National Training School for Women and Girls).

In 1936-37 the WPA did extensive work at the school, including: “Painting and major repairs; improvements to buildings and grounds… Work includes flooring, painting, erecting a building for a chicken house, barn, implement shed, and quarters; installing equipment, electrical and plumbing; sidewalks” (WPA work order, National Archives).

A report in the Washington Post elaborated at length: “WPA workers tore out partitions, enlarged windows, brightened dark walls, installed modern equipment. There is now a central kitchen to save the waste and extravagance of cooking in five buildings. There is also a central laundry with up-to-date tubs, lines and ironing boards. A hot water system has been installed. Dark walls and woodwork have been painted white. Complete classrooms are now in use.

A domestic science department has been organized, and four kitchen units and a ‘practice apartment’ have been equipped so that the girls can learn everything about housekeeping from sweeping the floor to serving up a meal fit for a king. A beauty shop is being installed and will be equipped so that the girls who are interested in this work can become expert operators.

A commercial department has been organized. A nature study museum is being developed. In what was formerly the old courtyard, surrounded by a high brick wall and closed off for no reason at all, a formal flower garden, centered with a swimming pool, is being constructed. A basement storeroom is being converted into an up-to-the-minute venereal disease clinic, and a library and reading room is now nearing completion…The school is a new school, as unlike the old one from which it began developing a year ago as two institutions could possibly be” (Post, March 28, 1937).

It appears that the National Training School for Girls has disappeared and the site is now occupied by the Sibley Hospital.  

Source notes

National Archives, Record Group 69, “Microfilmed Index to WPA Projects.”

Hope Ridings Miller, “Girls’ Training School, Once Gloomy, Now Aid to Creative Living,” Washington Post, March 28, 1937, p. B7

District of Columbia Works Progress Administration, “The Road Back,” Work: A Journal of Progress, Vol. 1, No. 3, Nov. 1936, pp. 34-35

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on January 8, 2018.

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Location Info


Little Falls Road
Washington, DC

Location notes: It appears that Conduit Road's name was changed after WW2

Coordinates: 38.9372, -77.1116

2 comments on “National Training School for Girls (Former) Improvements – Washington DC

  1. Ben Miller

    Photos and details of construction on this page relate to the National Training School for Girls, a reformatory school administered at that time by the DC Board of Public Welfare. Nannie Burroughs ran the National Training School for Women and Girls, an independent vocational school for African American women.

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