Edwin P. Goodwin House – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura

Edwin P. Goodwin House

This house was once the location of Frelinghuysen University.  

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Constructed in 1879 for insurance agent Edwin P. Goodwin by local architect Dillard B. Groff, this Queen Anne-style house built in the burgeoning Shaw neighborhood, later became the main classroom of Frelinghuysen University.

The private, historically Black university, provided educational and vocational opportunities for Black students. It was named after Senator Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, an outspoken advocate for the rights of Black Americans during Reconstruction. 

The school was founded by Jesse and Rosetta Lawson and was the first school to offer extension and evening classes to Black students in the District of Columbia.

The school endured a period of financial hardship in the early 1930s and lost its accreditation in 1937. In 1940, its name was changed to Frelinghuysen Group of Schools for Colored Working People.

The school never recovered its accreditation. Despite no longer offering degrees, it continued to offer crucial education and social services to the Black community that were otherwise unavailable. Frelinghuysen closed its doors in 1964.

Know Before You Go

Edwin P. Goodwin House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 6, 1995, for its significance to African American education.

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March 8, 2023

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