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Vare-Washington School

Vare-Washington School

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George Washington School
George Washington School, April 2010
Location 1198 S. 5th St.,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°56′01″N 75°09′10″W / 39.9337°N 75.1528°W / 39.9337; -75.1528Coordinates: 39°56′01″N 75°09′10″W / 39.9337°N 75.1528°W / 39.9337; -75.1528
Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built 1935–1937
Architect Irwin T. Catharine
Architectural style Moderne, Art Deco
MPS Philadelphia Public Schools TR
NRHP reference # 86003343[1]
Added to NRHP December 4, 1986

Vare-Washington School, is a K-8 school in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a part of the School District of Philadelphia. It occupies the former George Washington School building in the Dickinson Narrows neighborhood,[citation needed] in proximity to Southwark.[2]


The historic school building was designed by Irwin T. Catharine and built in 1935-1937. It is a three-story, brick and limestone building in the Art Deco / Moderne-style. It features ribbon windows, brick piers, and a projecting entrance with skyscraper-like details and rounded corners with decorative figures.[3] The school was originally established to serve children of workers in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and had been in operation since the U.S. Civil War period.[4]

In 1985 Washington and one other school were the first two Philadelphia public schools to sign up for Education for Parenting, a program in which students are taught about parenting by observing real infants.[5]

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[1]

In December 2012 Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. presented a proposal that would close Washington and move Abigail Vare School into Washington's building. At the time Washington's building was in a better condition compared to Vare's, while the Vare school had an academic performance superior to that of Washington's.[6] In March 2013, the school district voted to close Washington.[2] Vare moved from its previous building to current building,[7] and was renamed Vare-Washington School. Since the move, the former Vare School has remained empty.

As a result of the closing of Washington, all Washington staff and teachers were to lose their positions, even though the Washington building was staying open. On May 14, 2013, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers filed a grievance to try to reverse this decision.[2]


Residents of the current Vare-Washington zone,[8] and residents of the former Abigail Vare School zone, are zoned to Furness High School.[9]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c Medina, Regina. "Philly union challenges teacher-dump decision." Philadelphia Inquirer. May 24, 2013. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  3. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System.  Note: This includes B. Mintz (July 1986). "Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form: George Washington School" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  4. ^ George Washington School Homepage. School District of Philadelphia. January 9, 201. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Woodall, Martha. "At School, Babies Offer Lessons Of Value." Philadelphia Inquirer. May 6, 1990. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Graham, Kristen A. "Philadelphia superintendent identifies schools he intends to close." Philadelphia Inquirer. December 15, 2012. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Graham, Kristen. "SRC votes to spare four schools." Philadelphia Inquirer. Thursday October 17, 2013. Retrieved on November 30, 2015. "CLOSING:[...]George Washington Elementary School, 1198 S. 5th Street Abigail Vare Elementary School, 1621 E. Moyamensing Avenue (building only, moves into George Washington Elementary)"
  8. ^ "School Finder." School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  9. ^ "Horace Furness High School Geographic Boundaries" (Archive). School District of Philadelphia. Retrieved on October 4, 2011.

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