The Gales School

The Gales School, at 65 Massachusetts Avenue, was built in 1881 and named after the eighth mayor of D.C., Joseph Gales. It was used as a school for special-needs children until 1944. After that, it was used for temporary housing for soldiers, and as a hypothermia shelter, and various other uses. It was closed in 2004 because of its deterioration.

In 2012, renovations began for use by the Central Union Mission and were completed in 2013. The Mission is a 30-year old institution that had been at 14th and R. The Mission, serving homeless men, wanted to be at a location which was central to where the homeless could use it, and this location right near Union Station serves its population better than the gentrifying neighborhood around its previous location. The D.C. government continues to own the building, leasing it to the Mission for $1 per year for the next 40 years.

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