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Cab Calloway School of the Arts (Wilmington High School)
The previous Wilmington High School, on Delaware Avenue (1899–1901), was ultimately deemed dark and dreary and a fire hazard; it was razed in 1964. Its datestone and gate are preserved on the grounds of the present facility, the largest high school in the state when built. A pamphlet explained, “The elements of the building express light, order, beauty, color, line and quiet—attributes which foster study and growth.” In fact, its stern International Style aluminum-framed windows and brick walls were relieved only by a few colored glazed-tiles, including green ones that form a block at the entrance (penetrating the building internally as well as projecting externally). Over the front doors stands a shallow roof supported by slender, cruciform steel pilotis. Built for 1,350 pupils, the school was overcrowded as soon as it opened, and an extra floor was added. Rioting in its hallways in 1968 led to a plunge in enrollment. When court-ordered desegregation of Delaware schools ended in 1994, numbers dropped still further, culminating in temporary closure five years later. It has reopened as a magnet school for the arts. Next door stands corner-windowed Westcourt Apartments (Foster Park Apartments; 1940–1941, Morton Keast, with Massena and du Pont, associates).
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