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The Exhibit

The Story of Our School
Logan and The Community

A Place We Call Home

The area in which CHML is located is one of DC’s oldest residential neighborhoods. In the 1800s, it was nicknamed Swampoodle and settled by Irish immigrants and Black Americans. Many of these men and women labored in building iconic DC structures. During the Civil War (1861–1865), freed enslaved people traveled north and settled here. In the early 1900s, the creation of Union Station displaced many of this diverse community’s homes and businesses. By the mid–1930s, the neighborhood had fallen on hard times and its residents suffered from harsh living conditions.

Today, the area is known as Capitol Hill. It is still a diverse neighborhood, whose residents represent a variety of backgrounds and professions. What changes have you seen in your neighborhood? How do you think it might change in the future?

The Logan School

In 1891, the original Logan School was built at 301 G Street NE to serve Black students. It was named in honor of General John A. Logan, who led Union troops in the Civil War. The original Logan School building still stands today, now transformed into condominiums.

Due to overcrowding, in 1935 a new school was built across the street at 215 G Street NE. The old school, called The Annex, was used for additional classroom space. In time, Logan School’s enrollment outgrew the new school. Two additions were built onto the building in 1949. Can you imagine yourself as a student in the Logan School in 1891?

Today this school is called Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan (CHML). In 2011, CHML became the first dedicated Montessori school within DC Public Schools. As a citywide school, it includes grades PK3–8 and educates children from every ward in Washington, DC.

Voices from the Logan School Community

It was a real neighborhood, a real community...There are certainly people who went to Logan with me who I still know and work with today.

Councilman Vincent GrayIn the 1950s, Mr. Gray attended Logan School from kindergarten to 6th grade. A lifelong DC resident, Mr. Gray is also a political leader in the city. He served as the Ward 7 DC Councilmember from 2005–2006 and as the Chairman of the DC Council from 2007–2010. He served as mayor of Washington, DC from 2011–2015. Following his mayoral term, he returned in 2017 to serve as Ward 7 DC Councilmember. In 2017, The Logan Club students interviewed Councilman Gray about his experience attending Logan School.

We didn’t have a playground...We played in the street. They would block it off and we would play on G Street.

Ms. Alice StewartMs. Alice attended the original Logan School in 1945, known then as the Annex. She was born and raised in Capitol Hill. The Logan Club is grateful to have had the opportunity to interview Ms. Alice shortly before her passing.

It’s remarkable. When I first came [to the neighborhood in 1942] most of my neighbors were white and as I grew up—I graduated high school in 1959—my neighbors were black. Now on my street, I have few black neighbors. A lot has changed…You live and things just change.

Ms. Wallacetine Y. Taliaferro-CurtisMs. Wallacetine attended the Logan School in the mid-1940s. She still lives in the Capitol Hill house where she grew up, and her granddaughter attends CHML. Ms. Wallacetine was interviewed by a Logan Club student who recorded the interview in NPR’s Story Corps mobile studio.

Who Was John A. Logan?

The Logan School, the building that houses CHML today, is named for John A. Logan, a Civil War general. He was also a courageous political leader who at first believed in slavery and then changed his views and fought for civil rights for Black Americans.

One of ten children, John Logan was born in 1826 in Jackson County, Illinois. His Irish immigrant father was a farm owner and a physician who believed in slavery. After fighting in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), Logan returned to Illinois and became a successful lawyer.

Like his father, Logan held strong pro-slavery views. In the 1850s, he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly where he helped pass the state’s “Logan Laws” that prohibited freed enslaved people from entering Illinois. In 1858, he was elected to the United States Congress. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln, a Republican also from Illinois, was selected President of the United States. Lincoln held opposing views on slavery.

As the country entered into civil war in 1861, John Logan had a change of heart. He now believed that slavery was wrong. He joined the Union Army and fought in the Battle of Bull Run, rising to the rank of Major General by the end of the war. In 1871, he returned to politics, now as a Republican, and was elected to the United States Senate. The man who had once championed pro-slavery laws now favored civil rights bills, including those giving Black Americans the right to vote.

John A. Logan was a leading candidate for the 1888 Republican presidential nomination. During the campaign, he was diagnosed with rheumatism and died suddenly in 1886. He is buried in the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, DC.

The Exhibit

The Story of Our Schools would like to thank the following for their generous grants and donations that made this exhibit possible: 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C  |  Appointed  |  Capitol Hill Community Foundation | Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan Parent Teacher Student Organization  |  District of Columbia Public Schools  |  National Capital Bank of Washington  |  Penn Hill Group


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