Franklin Park, children swimming in pool, c. 1955
Historical Society of Washington, DC
Franklin Square is an active and bustling area of downtown Washington, DC. The Franklin School, completed in 1868 and designed by Adolph Cluss, is a focal point of the square. The school was a model of advanced design in its day and the scene of Alexander Graham Bell’s first wireless message. On June 3, 1880, Bell sent a message over a beam of light to a window in a building at 1325 L Street, NW. The school trustees declared that the construction of such buildings as Franklin School “will do much to redeem us from he imputation so often made that the city of Washington is a mere dependent upon Government and that it does nothing itself for the advancement of its citizens.” The Franklin School won prizes as the most modern schoolhouse design at both the Vienna and the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. The Franklin School has been renovated in recent years and is now used as private business offices.
Many historic places around Franklin Square no longer exist such as the house where Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of Little Lord Fauntleroy, lived at 1219 I Street and the Capitol Garage, constructed in 1926, that stood at 1312-1320 New York Avenue. However, historic places such as Franklin School and the Almas Temple remain, and along with the new, surrounding monumental office buildings make Franklin Square a dynamic and ecelectic area.
Franklin Square is a public park that is accessible to the public.