Washington Irving School is one of Wichita’s oldest. The original building was a one-room schoolhouse, and I could not find a date on when it existed.
An old building was mentioned in 1884 and a new building was completed in 1887. That building was replaced in 1941 by the current building on North Market.
Interesting note: The school sat in one of Wichita’s wealthiest communities and a large number of kids were the offspring of prominent citizens.
Irving was named for Washington Irving, writer and historian. Mr. Irving’s life began in Manhattan, NY on April 3, 1783. His mother named him George after President George Washington. The young boy met his namesake in 1789.
He is best known for writing “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” His historical works include biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad and George Washington, as well as several histories of 15th-century Spain that deal with subjects such as Alhambra, Christopher Columbus and the Moors.
Interesting note: In 1812 Irving wrote a dream sequence in “A History of New York”, that had St. Nicholas soaring over the city in a flying wagon, thus helping create the persona of Santa Claus.
He also spent a number of years in politics acting as ambassador to Spain in the 1840’s.
Irving died of a heart attack on November 28, 1859 at the age of 76 in his hometown, Tarrytown. He is buried at Sleepy Hollow cemetery on December 1, 1859.
In 1989, Irving School was combined with Horace Mann and Park elementary schools to become a foreign language magnet school. Grades PreK through second went to Irving and Park. Those 3rd through 5th graders went to Horace Mann.
A new addition and renovations were part of a 2002 bond issue, which included the purchase of the adjacent property at 1620 and 1622 N. Market.
There was another extensive remodel from 2010 to 2012.
Check out Wichita’s other schools.