I drove by an old school today in northeast Philadelphia. I recognized immediately that it was a school, even before I read the name inscribed over the entrance: Woodrow Wilson Public School. What an entrance! The four Composite columns of the portico rose fully two stories high, supporting a balcony which I assume was off the principal’s office—or should have been. The wings on both sides stretched out in a regular beat of brick pilasters and tall classroom windows. The school opened in 1928 (Wilson died in 1924). What struck me about the building was not its Classical style and solid construction—that was simply how one built public buildings in those days—but rather the evident status of public education that the architecture conveyed. Learning was important, and children learning deserved the very best.

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