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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Brightwood in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

School Days

Battleground to Community

 

—Brightwood Heritage Trail —

 
School Days Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
1. School Days Marker
Inscription. The School Building Just Ahead of You Opened In 1912 as the Military Road School, the area's third public elementary for African Americans. For decades it was the only public school serving black children in Upper Northwest and nearby Maryland.

The School gave students "the tools to be successful" recalled Patricia Tyson, a student in the 1950s. Teachers required good behavior, good grammar, and respect for the historic contributions of black Americans. Tyson traveled from Montgomery County, Maryland, to attend. Her father, a military Road school alumnus, paid 62 cents a day for the privilege.

The Italian Renaissance style school, designed by Snowden Ashford, held four classrooms. After the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed school segregation, the Military Road School closed, and many of the students were moved to Brightwood Elementary. In 2003 the Military Road School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2007 re-opened as the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School.

The original portion of Brightwood Elementary, across Missouri Avenue on your left, was built for white children in 1925 in a colonial revival style by noted Washington architect Waddy Wood. Its modern addition opened in 2005. Brightwood Elementary has long
School Days Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 16, 2008
2. School Days Marker
Patricia Tyson portraying educator and lecturer Hallie Quinn Brown in a blue dress points to the "School Days" marker during the celebration of the opening of the Brightwood Heritage Trail.
helped immigrants adjust to American life. When Leo Vondas arrived from Greece in 1955, the first grader spoke little English. "They took a lot of time after school with me until I got the hang of it," he recalled. Recent waves of Latino immigrants enjoy similar support.

The Queen Anne style house behind you is one of Brightwood's oldest. It was moved back on its lot in 1933 when Military Road (now Missouri Avenue) was widened and straightened. Owner George Lightfoot, a professor of Latin at Howard University from 1891 until 1939, often entertained W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter Woodson, and other African American intellectuals here.
 
Erected 2008 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Location. 38° 57.716′ N, 77° 1.898′ W. Marker is in Brightwood, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Missouri Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. The marker is on the north side of Missouri Avenue between the George Lightfoot house 1329 Missouri Ave. and the Military Road School at 1375 Missouri Ave, NW, Washington DC 20011, in the Brightwood neighborhood. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20011, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Military Road School (within shouting distance of this marker);
Military Road School Students, 1954 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
3. Military Road School Students, 1954
Military Road School students and safety patrol boys, around 1954.
Close-up of photo on marker
Patricia Tyson Collection
An African American Enclave (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Aunt Betty's Story (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Stevens (approx. 0.2 miles away); “Get Down You Fool” (approx. 0.2 miles away); Build It And They Will Come (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Streetcar Named Brightwood (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crossroads Create Community (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brightwood.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Follow the Brightwood Heritage Trail
 
Categories. Education
 
School Days Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
4. School Days Marker
Dressed for May Day at Military Road School, 1948.
Close-up of photo on marker
Patricia Tyson Collection
Nero the Dog image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
5. Nero the Dog
Nero the dog and a young friend, around 1940.
Close-up of photo on marker
Carol Lightfoot Walker Collection
Proffessor George M. Lightfoot image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
6. Proffessor George M. Lightfoot
Close-up of photo on marker
Carol Lightfoot Walker Collection
The Brothers Lightfoot image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
7. The Brothers Lightfoot
Brothers George Lightfoot, jr. top and James Lightfoot, 1943.
Close-up of photo on marker
Carol Lightfoot Walker Collection
Leo Vondas and his sixth grade class image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
8. Leo Vondas and his sixth grade class
By the time immigrant Leo Vondas, second row, center, became a sixth grade safety patrol a Brightwood Elementary, he had mastered English.
Close-up of photo on marker
Leo Vondas Collection
Miss Padgett's Class image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
9. Miss Padgett's Class
Miss Padgett's sixth grade class at Brightwood with Tom Reardon top, fifth from left, 1958.
Close-up of photo on marker
Tom Reardon Collection
Blueprint -- Four Room School No. 171 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
10. Blueprint -- Four Room School No. 171
Snowden Ashford's original blueprint (1911) for the Military Road School. The blocked-out windows on the front left side of the building were designed for light control.
Close-up of image on reverse of marker
Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives
Military Road School image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
11. Military Road School
Military Road School -- Cupola image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
12. Military Road School -- Cupola
George M. Lightfoot House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
13. George M. Lightfoot House
This house was built in 1892 by Frederick Bex a carriage maker and inventor. George Morton Lightfoot bought the house in 1917 but he did not move in until 1931. In 1930, the house was moved from the east end of the lot (near where 13th street is today) to a spot immediately adjacent to the Military Road School to accommodate the widening and straightening of Concord Avenue (now Missouri Avenue). The house was moved again in 1933 when the Federal Government took over the land next to the school for the projected "Fort Drive" to connect the ring of Civil War forts. This time the house was moved eastward into its current location. The Lightfoot family still lives in the old house.
Oriel Tower image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 19, 2013
14. Oriel Tower
on the George Lightfoot House
Brightwood Elementary image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 19, 2013
15. Brightwood Elementary
This school building designed by Waddy B. Wood opened in 1926.
Cupola image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 19, 2013
16. Cupola
of the 1926 Brightwood Elementary Building
Map -- You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
17. Map -- You Are Here
Close-up of map on reverse of marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 826 times since then and 55 times this year. Last updated on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. submitted on May 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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