Abigail Vare School
Abigail Vare School Philly.JPG
Abigail Vare School, May 2010
Abigail Vare School is located in Philadelphia
Abigail Vare School
Abigail Vare School is located in Pennsylvania
Abigail Vare School
Abigail Vare School is located in the United States
Abigail Vare School
Location1619 E. Moyamensing Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°58′22″N 75°09′03″W / 39.9728°N 75.1507°W / 39.9728; -75.1507Coordinates: 39°58′22″N 75°09′03″W / 39.9728°N 75.1507°W / 39.9728; -75.1507
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built bySamuel Garley, Jr.
ArchitectJames Gaw
Architectural styleClassical Revival
MPSPhiladelphia Public Schools TR
NRHP reference No.86003339[1]
Added to NRHPDecember 4, 1986

Abigail Vare School is a former school building located in the Pennsport neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is located across from Dickinson Square Park.[2]


It was built in 1903–1904, and is a three-story, square stone building in the Classical Revival-style. It features a central projecting pediment with Ionic order columns and decorative Palladian window, an oversized molded cornice, and a hipped and gable roof with decorative brackets.[3] The school was named after Abigail Vare, the mother of the three Vare Brothers (including William Scott Vare), who became politicians and contractors.[4]

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[1]

In December 2012 Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. presented a proposal that would close the George Washington School and move Abigail Vare School into Washington's building. At the time Washington's building was in a better condition compared to Vare's, while the Vare school had an academic performance superior to that of Washington's.[5] In March 2013, the school district voted to close Washington.[6] Abigail Vare School moved from its previous building to the former Washington building,[7] and it is now known as Vare-Washington School.

After Washington-Vare moved to the former Washington school, the former Vare school remained vacant. The school district and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation listed the Vare building for $2.5 million. Concordia Group, a company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, acquired the Vare building, along with Germantown High School and three other schools, for $6.8 million.[2] The SRC voted on this sale in September 2014.[8]

In 2015 Concordia Group announced that it wished to construct six townhouses next to the former Vare building and also convert Vare itself into 45 apartment units.[2] The developer engaged in a community meeting with area residents, and it reduced the number of units to 41, in addition to reducing the amount of parking.[9]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Jennings, James. "Mt. Sinai Developer Plans Apartments, Townhomes at Shuttered Pennsport School." Philadelphia. June 10, 2015. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  3. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Note: This includes B. Mintz (July 1986). "Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form: Abigail Vare School" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  4. ^ Avery, Ron. "Nepotism's The Name Vips Had Dibs On Area Places." The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 12, 1995. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Graham, Kristen A. "Philadelphia superintendent identifies schools he intends to close." The Philadelphia Inquirer. December 15, 2012. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Medina, Regina. "Philly union challenges teacher-dump decision." The Philadelphia Inquirer. May 24, 2013. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Graham, Kristen. "SRC votes to spare four schools." The Philadelphia Inquirer. Thursday October 17, 2013. Retrieved on November 30, 2015. "CLOSING:[...]George Washington Elementary School, 1198 S. 5th Street Abigail Vare Elementary School, 1621 E. Moyamensing Avenue (building only, moves into George Washington Elementary)"
  8. ^ "SRC will vote on sale of 11 closed schools Archived 2015-12-08 at the Wayback Machine." The Notebook. September 18, 2014. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Brey, Jared. "Maryland developers see opportunity in Philly's institutional shells." PlanPhilly at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.