Tonight the Powell School, the City’s oldest school building (1888), caught fire. By the time I arrived about 10 PM at the corner of 24th Street and 6th Avenue North, multiple fire trucks and dozens of firemen were battling the blaze. Sadly, the damage is major. While the fire now appears under control, it remains to be seen if the shell is salvageable. Let’s all pray this is the case; architecturally there is nothing else like it in the City, and historically it is without parallel as our first “Free School”.
While the News has better pictures here, I post a snapshot I took above, of a sad Mayor William Bell, consulting his fire chief and watching the blaze for some time. My great-grandmother walked to this school from her house a few blocks away as a little girl; by 2004 it finally closed when the new Phillips Academy opened nearby. For everyone interested in this City’s history, this is indeed a sad, sad night.