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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Carver School

 
 
Carver School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
1. Carver School Marker
Inscription. Just two blocks north of this location along Fayette Street (named for the Marquis de Lafayette who visited Alexandria in 1824), near the southwest corner of Queen Street, stood the Old Powder House, dating from 1791-1809. On the same spot, the Carver School, an African American nursery school, was built in 1944 and restored in 2014.

The Powder House structure was built in a rural area far outside Alexandria in the late 18th century due to the dangers associated with the storage of gunpowder in populated areas. In January 1791, the Common Council passed an ordinance notifying the inhabitants of Alexandria that "...a house is now ready for the reception of powder under the care of Mr. John Yost..." and required that all gunpowder be deposited at that location within one week. Seven months later, a more permanent structure was required and in July of the same year the Council offered a contract to construct "...a powder house on ground belonging to Charles Alexander, Esq. near the Rope Walk. The building is to be made of brick 16 feet wide, 30 feet long, 10 feet high in the clear and 18 inch walls. The bricks may be made on the spot."

The 20-year lease between Charles Alexander and the City stipulated that payment was to be made each December, consisting of one ear of Indian corn. By 1806, the prospering city had grown
Carver School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
2. Carver School Marker
within 100 yards of the building and three years later, a new powder house was built further west near Shuter's Hill.

The wood-frame Carver School was built at the same location in 1944, under the auspices of National Defense Housing Act of 1941. Under federal funds offered during World War II, the school operated as a segregated school for African American children. By February 1946, when federal support began to decline, the two professional teachers at the school, Lucille G. Smith and Velma D. Leigh, were notified that they must assume all janitorial duties at the school including cleaning the building and maintaining the furnaces each day. When it became clear that white instructors working in other Alexandria schools were not subjected to this order, the teachers resigned within several days. The school closed in 1950 and the building became the William Thomas branch (Post 129) of the American Legion, named after the first African American to die in battle during World War I. By 2010, the building was vacant and neglected and was finally preserved in 2014 after a close call with demolition.
 
Location. 38° 48.349′ N, 77° 3.14′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of King Street (Virginia Route 7) and North Fayette Street, on the right when traveling west
Carver School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
3. Carver School Marker
on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1131 King Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Port City (within shouting distance of this marker); Capt. James McGuire House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); James Harris House (about 400 feet away); Alexandria, D.C. (about 600 feet away); L’Ouverture Hospital (about 600 feet away); Freedom House Museum (about 700 feet away); L'Overture Hospital HQ (about 700 feet away); Friendship Firehouse (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Categories. African AmericansEducationWar, World I
 
Carver School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
4. Carver School Marker
Carver School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 30, 2018
5. Carver School Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 2, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 26 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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