Anyone Know The Deal Here?


This building sits on a huge lot at the corner of Sherman and Kenyon. It is fenced and clearly not in use. Anyone have the scoop on any development here? I’m assuming this was an old school or something?

16 Comment

  • Word on the street is that it will be renovated and reopened as a Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy in the Fall of 09, for grades 6-8. Of course, that was the word on the street for Fall 08 too. But the people who run the school swear it will open for real in 09.

    I met a guy recently who attended that school in its last incarnation, which I think was last open as a public high school about 25-30 years ago.

  • p.s. The building is called the Bruce School, which it says above the door on the Kenyon St. side.

  • saf

    Do you have the address? I thought I’d do a bit of research, and that would help.

  • saf

    Ah, with the name, found it. And animal mother has the latest info.

  • Interesting bit of history I found at the link above…

    The original Bruce School was built in 1898 and was named for Blanche Kelso Bruce, the first African-American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. He was born into slavery in Virginia and he was tutored by his master’s son. He escaped slavery after the start of the Civil War. He eventually settled in Mississippi and became a prosperous land owner and became active in local politics. Bruce served in the Senate as a Democrat representing Mississippi from 1875-1881. He remained in Washington after his term ended and, when Democrat Benjamin Harrison became President in 1889, he appointed Bruce as the Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. He died in Washington in 1898.

  • I truly hope they add some windows. Otherwise, it will be a depressing place to attend school and an eyesore.

  • It’s less depressing looking (despite being vacant and run down) on the Kenyon St. side. But in any case I agree, more windows would be a good step.

  • I live across the alley on the backside of the school, so I watch the progress from my bedroom windows. They used to have an old playground there that the neighborhood kids would jump the fence and use. A few months ago they came in and bulldozed the playground and tore up all the weeds and grass. Then they left it alone for a couple of months, the mound of dirt they had bulldozed grew giant weed trees in it and a lot of the grass/weeds have come back. Waste of time.

    Inside the building, at the same time they did the bulldozing, some dudes in hazmat outfits were seen going in and out of the building. Not sure what they did, I never say them bring anything out with them.

    For the last few months, there has been zero activity there. I’d be VERY surprised if this is ready to go by Fall ’09.

  • According the contact at the Cesar Chavez website (, as of last month they planned to begin substantial renovations this month. I’m also skeptical, but that was their position as recently as three weeks ago. They also claim that substantial demolition has been done on the interior.

    But yeah, I’ll also be surprised if they actually open in 09, since they said the same thing about this time in 07 about what was going to happen in 08.

  • I spent a very unhappy month in 2nd grade attending Bruce elementary before transferring to Whittier and then Keene. That was back in 1957. I recognized that imposing profile right away. Ughh! The horror! The horror!

  • a lot of times people hazmat up for lead and asbestos.

  • the problem was the city took three years to negotiate the lease. its done now.

  • This is the “Bruce” of Bruce Monroe school. Bruce Monroe being the de-segregated combination of Bruce and Monroe schools.

    Kind of like Adams Morgan.

  • Yeah, my realtor also told me that it was supposed to be turned into a charter school when I was looking at places in the neighborhood. He guessed it would be another 3-4 years (from now) before it actually opened.

  • Now that’d be a badass canvas for a mural…

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