From The Archives
1888 School Building
Francis M. Drexel School
This school was organized in 1888 and named after Francis Martin Drexel the progenitor of the Drexel family.
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|Heated Sq. Ft.||45,000|
|150 x 114 feet|
- City sewer
- City water supply
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Drexel's life was intriguing, an artist-turned-banker, he imparted to his family a love for art and the importance of financial responsibility. Details of his life have been preserved by Drexel descendants and maintained by Drexel University. His son Anthony Drexel became the head of Drexel and Company when his father died in 1863. He partnered with J.P. Morgan and began one of the most lucrative banking interests in the world. Anthony Drexel's success in business led to significant philanthropic activity. He gave considerable sums to Christian hospitals and other institutions that administered care for the poor. In the 1860s, Drexel had started to consider using his wealth to fund a school. Under the influence of his niece Katharine Drexel, who would later be canonized by the Catholic Church, he decided to open an industrial school. What was unique about Drexel's vision was his intention to make his school accessible to all, without restrictions based on gender, creed, or social class. Three years after this structure was completed, In December 1891, the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry (Drexel University) was founded, Anthony Drexel died two years later in 1893.
Completed in 1889 in a Victorian Queen Anne-influenced design, the building was designed by architect Joseph Anshutz who designed some 75 school buildings, many identical in style and basic plan to this building. Of the numerous “Drexel School” models constructed throughout the city in the 1880’s this represents the few relatively intact examples surviving to the present. The building served the School District of Philadelphia as a combined Secondary and Primary then as an administrative building until the mid 1970’s. In 2010 the building was placed on the National Register for Historic places.
Archived in March, 2013