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Throw Back Tuesday: Garfield School

As south St. Louis continued to grow with an influx of German immigrants, a new elementary school was constructed at 2612 Wyoming Street. The original Garfield School building was built in 1883 in the Romaneques Revival style popular with German immigrants. As the neighborhood families expanded, a second building constructed in the 1890s in the Second Empire style stood in front of the original school building.

Photo: Garfield School, 2612 Wyoming

The school was named after U.S. President James A. Garfield; 20th President serving March 1881 to November 1881.

Photo: Garfield School kindergarten class, 1889.

Photo: Garfield School Mothers Club pin, 1924

During the Great Depression, the American New Deal created the Works Progress Administration (WPA). One of their projects to put U.S. citizens to work was constructing new public schools. The Garfield School, now 40+ years old, was consider outdated and chosen to be replaced.

Photo: One view of one drawing depicting a building, the signature "Geo. A. Sanger. Architect 1936" written on the bottom left, the words "Garfield School" written over the front entrance of the building in the center.

The 'new' Garfield School was constructed in 1936 as a WPA project designed by George A. Sanger. The new building cost $237,363 at the time.

Photo: The original Garfield School building shortly after the new school was built in front of it at 2612 Wyoming. This view is from Jefferson Ave looking west, July 1937.

Photo: The 'new' Garfield School, January 1938.

Photo: Garfield School, 1988

The St. Louis Public Schools closed the Garfield Elementary School in 2003 after years of declining enrollment.

Peter and Paul Community Services purchased the vacant building in 2012. They renovated the building into permanent housing for the chronically homeless and their offices. Renovations costs were $8.5 million.

Photo: Ground breaking ceremony for Peter and Paul's project.

Photo: Garfield Commons, 2014

BSI Constructors was the contractor who renovated the building. Peter and Paul moved into their new space in 2014 and rebranded the building Garfield Commons. The project won Landmarks Associations 2015 Most Enhanced.


Missouri Department of Natural Resources,

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