Meghan Hughes presented a fascinating introductory slideshow at the Church Hill North Community Conversation earlier this month. Included was this 1951 shot of 29th and M Streets from 1951 and described as the “future site of George Mason Elementary”.
In 1881, a four-room frame building was erected at 29th and 0 Streets; this was followed by the construction of a six-classroom brick building in 1887. The two schools were known as East End School until the name was changed to George Mason in 1909.
In 1922, the old Richmond High School was torn down and rebuilt in its original form as a twelve-classroom addition to George Mason; the playground was enlarged in 1922-23, until the entire half block was owned.
In 1933-34, the school was so badly crowded that some pupils were housed in rented rooms. A U.S. government grant partially funded a fourteen-room addition in 1936; the 1951 twelve-classroom wing included auditorium, cafeteria, and offices.
The 1881 building was demolished in 1974.
Despite these facilities, George Mason was generally so crowded that for several years all pupils below grade 6 were on part time. The construction of the Creighton Court housing project added to the enrollment, and for awhile the project’s community center housed classes supervised by George Mason’s principal
The George Mason program operated from the Fairmount Building during the 1979-80 building modernization. This included an addition named by the School Board as the “Henry L. Marsh III Wing,” a tribute to the achievements and public service of then-Mayor Marsh.
The Community Conversations at the Valentine continue through June with events exploring Old Town Manchester, Carver, Barton Heights, and Forrest Hill.
PHOTO courtesy the Valentine
TAGGED: 1880s, 29th Street, George Mason ES, historic photos, M Street, Valentine Richmond History Center