Capitol Hill Restoration Society

100 Years of Eastern High School – Preservation Cafe

Posted on November 30th, 2023 by Elizabeth Nelson

Story of Our Schools Exhibit

Jen Harris, Executive Director and Founder, and Erin Roth, Development Director, The Story of Our Schools will present a virtual Preservation Café “100 Years of Eastern High School,” Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 6:30 pm.

Eastern Students, 1965 Image: DC Public Library

In partnership with the Eastern High School community, The Story of Our Schools helped develop a permanent exhibit that celebrates the centennial anniversary of Eastern’s building on East Capitol Street. Ellen Dodsworth and Kimberly Springle led participating Eastern students as they discovered the history of their school. With a special guest appearance from Rodney Red Grant, the students learned techniques to create documentary films based on a piece of their “school story” that interested them the most. Eastern alumni played a large role in the research process, as quotes from their oral histories became the voice of the final exhibit. 

100 Years of Eastern High School is now proudly displayed in the main lobby of the school, wrapping itself around the iconic alumni staircase. This space greets visitors with a visual timeline of the school’s history. Three-dimensional artifacts are displayed in the case directly behind the staircase, and a digital archive shows students’ films and photographs of life at Eastern. In honor of Franklin McCain’s (past Eastern student) incredible contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, we included a replica of Woolworth’s diner counter where his famous sit-in occurred. The “counter” displays student activism at Eastern and provides a space in which students can meet and engage with the exhibit content directly.

Eastern High School is more than 100 years old, and new school stories are being created every day. The history shared in this presentation is a collaborative effort between Eastern High School, Eastern alumni, area residents, and local archives.

Eastern Students, Image: DC Public Library

Our CHRS Preservation Cafés are free to both CHRS members and non members. Reservations will be available through Eventbrite, when it gets closer to the time.