950 24TH STREET NW
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The Varsity, 2022
The Varsity (950 25th St.) is not included in the Historic District. The Varsity Apartments contain Aniekan Udofia's "Foggy Bottom" mural. The corner of 24th and K Streets once housed a large Catholic school, a convent, a women's refuge, a WWI women's recreation center, and an orphan home, all of which are now gone.
The Varsity apartment building was built in 1986. The building was originally used as an extended stay hotel, the St. James Suites. It was owned by the Potomac Hospitality Services (PHS) group, the owners of the nearby One Washington Circle and The River Inn hotels. In 2001, GWU signed a 15-year lease to use the building as a dormitory, called "City Hall." It was then converted to apartments.
In 2017, the Varsity funded a mural by artist Aniekan Udofia, who has completed over 30 murals in D.C., including at Ben's Chili Bowl. The mural reflects Foggy Bottom history focusing on the central figure of a glass-blower, a reference to the Glass House, an early Foggy Bottom industry. It shows factory smoke, the D.C. Flag, and George Washington and pencils, references to the George Washington University.
From 1884 to 1911 the site of the Varsity was occupied by St. Savoir, "a place of refuge for fallen women" operated by the Association of the Works of Mercy, Inc. The next owner was St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church, which is located at the corner of Pennsylvania and 25th St. (north of the Historic District). During World War I, the site was used by Catholic University as place for recreation for single women working for the federal government. It operated as St. Stephen's parochial school from 1921 to 1954. From 1954 to 1985, the building housed the Immaculate Conception Academy, a school for girls run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul. It also housed a convent for the Sisters of Notre Dame from 1927 to 1954, when the convent was also taken over by the Daughters of Charity. The school/convent was sold, demolished, and replaced by the current apartment building in 1985.
The Daughters of Charity also established the city's first foundling home, St. Anne's Infant Asylum in 1863. It was located across the 24th Street in what is now the GWU Public Health building. President Lincoln signed St. Anne's charter to establish "an institution for the maintenance and support of foundlings and infant orphan and half orphan children, and also to provide for deserving, indigent, and unprotected females during their confinement and childbirth." A maternity hospital was attached to the asylum. The building was demolished in the late 1940s and used as GWU parking lot. St. Anne's is now located in Hyattsville, MD.
Aniekan Udofia's Foggy Bottom mural