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William Benning Webb School

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1899–1901, Glenn Brown. 601 15th St. NE

Well-known lobbyist for the American Institute of Architects, Glenn Brown designed the William Benning Webb School, a school for whites located in the Rosedale section of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Webb School building is a curious one, given Brown's highly partisan articles favoring a larger role for architects in private practice in the federal government's architectural program. One of his arguments in favor of private practitioners was that the government's architects were content to design federal government buildings in the Romanesque Revival style while private architects had moved on to classical styles, inspired by the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893.

If Brown had a problem with Romanesque Revival public buildings, the Webb School is a contradiction of his public pronouncements. However, in the Webb School, Brown may have offered a glimpse into how the Romanesque style might be integrated into a simple red brick block while displaying Colonial Revival design motifs. Flemish bond with glazed headers forms the wall surface as far as the sill line of the first-floor windows. The brick lintels above the first- and second-floor windows are subtly different from the rest of the wall surface brick, giving the impression of rubbed brick. At the frieze is a diamond-shaped design formed of two rows of glazed headers laid in a zigzag pattern. Brick string-courses at the second-floor roundarch spring line and at the first-floor window sill line tie together the composition. Today, the old Webb School serves as an adjunct to the modern Myrtilla Miner Elementary School to the south.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee
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Citation

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "William Benning Webb School", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/DC-01-CN53.

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 269-270.

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