Originally named St. Mary’s Academy of the Visitation, what is now the West Broadway Elementary School was built in 1904 by the architectural firm Murphy, Hindle and Wright as an addition to St. Mary’s church around the corner at 538 Broadway. The three story, flat roofed structure recalls the Beaux Arts style. Among the building’s classical details are the cornice, modillions, and triple arched loggia entrance. The building is included in the Armory-Broadway National Register District.
The building has continued to serve as a school since its construction. In the years leading up to its 2003 inclusion on the Most Endangered Properties list, the school suffered from deferred maintenance. Among the most noticeable casualties of time, the prominent tower, visible throughout the neighborhood, showed obvious signs of decay. In an effort to gather support for the restoration of this PPS included the West Broadway School as an MEP, adding it to the number of schools which have appeared on the list over the past decade; Hope High School suffered from similar neglect.
For a brief period, the school was closed. However, as of February, 2019, it is once again serving as a neighborhood elementary school, suiting the needs of the neighborhood demographics. That said, the building is still in need of major restorative maintenance.
(Image credit: Peter Goldberg, 2003)