Washington Accelerated Magnet

424 N Pennsylvania Ave, Wichita, KS 67214

The original Washington Elementary School opened in 1890.  The eight-room schoolhouse sat near third street and Cleveland. Originally named the Third Ward School, it became George Washington Elementary on April 7, 1890.

“Old” Washington School 3/6/1921
Courtesy Wichita Eagle

The board wanted to build a new school near Hydraulic and third.  That land was owned by “Buffalo Bill” Matthewson.  He didn’t want to sell.  When he passed away in 1915, his land was divided up and the school board bought the pasture at Central and Hydraulic.

“New” Washington Elementary 3/6/1921
Courtesy: The Wichita Eagle

The new Washington Grade School opened in 1921. On January 19, 1921, The Wichita Beacon stated, “The new Washington School has twenty-three rooms and is equipped with a combination gymnasium and auditorium.  Two city blocks comprises the playground which is the largest connected with any elementary school in Wichita.”

When the new Washington Grade School opened, the old school was demolished.  According to “A History of Wichita Public School Buildings” Washington’s original cornerstones were used in constructing Roosevelt Intermediate School.

The school is named after President George Washington. 

Washington was the first President of the United States, serving two terms from 1789 to 1797. He was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and grew up on a tobacco plantation. Washington was a skilled military leader who fought in the French and Indian War and later led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolution.

Washington was widely respected for his integrity, leadership, and commitment to democracy. He played a crucial role in shaping the country’s political system, helping to draft the US Constitution, and establishing the precedent of a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.

Washington was also a successful businessman, owning and managing several profitable plantations throughout his lifetime. However, he was also a slaveowner and owned hundreds of slaves throughout his life.

Washington known as the “Father of His Country,” died on December 14, 1799, from quinsy.  Quinsy is a bacterial infection that spreads from an infected tonsil to the surrounding area.  Washington’s final words were, “Tis well.”

Known as the “Sunshine Room,” Washington became home to many special education classes.  The program lasted until 1959. Washington School continued to serve the special needs of Wichita’s youth until 1990 when the program was moved away.  The school refocused on students with gifted education and bilingual education. In 1994, 28 students with special needs were reincorporated into the school.

Students leave “old” Washington Elementary 6/5/2003
Courtesy The Wichita Eagle

The 2000 bond project brought a new Washington School building.  The new building opened in August 2003, the same time the old building was demolished.

To learn about other Wichita Public Schools, click here.

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