Franklin School

Franklin School

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark, Franklin School is located at 13th & K Streets, N.W. Designed in 1869 by architect Adolf Cluss, the school is one of only fourteen buildings in Washington with an interior landmark designation.

Franklin School was considered so important in the 1870s that a model of the building was sent to international expositions in Vienna, Paris, and Philadelphia. The British, Nicaraguan, and Argentine governments requested plans of the building to study as they developed public school systems, and Congressmen sent copies of its plans to their home districts. In 1880 Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested his new invention the “photophone” from the rooftop of the building.

The building ceased being used as a school decades ago, and even though the exterior was restored in 1992, the building has been poorly maintained over the years and was shuttered in 2008. In January 2017, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development selected Ann B. Friedman and Dantes Partners to develop Franklin School as “Planet World,” an interactive language arts museum and education space. Work is currently underway for a complete restoration and renovation of the building for its adaptive re-use.  The Committee of 100 supports the renovation of the building for this purpose and will continue to follow developments and offer comments and testimony as the project proceeds.


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