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Art On Call, Washington, DC

Restoring Washington's abandoned police and fire call boxes as neighborhood artistic icons


Myrtilla Miner

Myrtilla Miner

Myrtilla Miner (1815-1864), born near Brookfield, NY, was an idealistic white teacher who came to Washington to teach African Americans. In 1853, with funding from northern abolitionists, she paid $4,000 for a three-acre site at 20th and N Sts. (Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” contributed $1,000.) The next year she opened Miss Miner’s School for Colored Girls despite widespread opposition from the Washington establishment.

After her death the Miner Fund was created with $40,000 received from the sale of the three-acre lot. Interest on the money was used to operate a new three story 12-room building at 1613 P St. In 1889 the Miner School became part of the public school system, one of the earliest publicly supported teacher training institutions in the nation for African Americans. Miner Normal School became part of DC Teachers College (left) in 1955 and was folded into the University of the District of Columbia in 1974.

Edith Galt, the widow of a Washington jeweler, lived at 1308 20th St., across from the Heurich mansion, until December 18, 1915 when she was married there to President Woodrow Wilson.

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Myrtilla Miner

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Email: Ray Gurganus, personal photograph;

Updated: 8-5-2020