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Historic window again illuminates Washington High School

Stained glass window at Washington

The Washington High School Class of 1930 had a vision—to create a legacy to future generations. For that reason, the class made a gift to the future in the form of a three-panel purple and gold stained glass window bearing Washington’s well-known W emblem. The window graced the entrance of the school for more than 50 years.

By the 1980s, age and weather had stressed the window and repairs were costly, so the panels were removed, crated and placed in storage. In recent years, a project was approved to replace Washington’s entire exterior doorway. The MPS Department of Facilities and Maintenance Services, in partnership with the Washington Alumni Association, proposed restoration of the historic windows as part of the exterior door project. The alumni association spearheaded fundraising efforts.

A painstaking process led by the Department of Facilities and Maintenance Services ensued to accurately measure the arched openings, replace broken glass panels, inspect and replace lead joints, and ultimately restore the window to its former beauty. Enterprise Art Glass Works, Inc., which was founded in Milwaukee in 1903, was the original designer and builder of the window, and was called upon again to restore the massive piece. After more than 80 years, the company was pleased to have the window come home again for needed care.

Now, after its lengthy absence, the window has been restored and reinstalled as a showpiece above Washington’s main entrance. Following the original window installation, Howard Schneider, president of the Class of 1930, wrote his class’s intentions in a note to Washington’s principal: “that this window be a symbol and an outward sign to those who pass that here lives the true Washington spirit.”

stained glass window at Washington

Washington High School of Information Technology was completed in 1916 and is located in the Sherman Park neighborhood. One of the most historic schools in MPS, it operates under a 21st-Century curriculum that integrates technology to complement instruction, enhance learning, and prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing society of electronics and media.

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About Milwaukee Public Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to accelerating student achievement, building positive relationships between youth and adults and cultivating leadership at all levels. The district’s commitment to improvement continues to show results:

  • Ninety percent of 2019-20 budget dollars go directly to classrooms;
  • The MPS Class of 2018 earned $86.2 million in scholarships; and
  • MPS is home to five of the state and nation's top high schools according to U.S. News and World Report.

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