LLR Books

Gonzaga in Swampoodle (Thanks to Ghosts of DC. Org)

New Gonzaga College advertisement in the Washington Times - August 31st, 1913


Gonzaga benefited greatly from the fact that the row houses built in Swampoodle were largely occupied by Irish Catholics from the late 19th century on. Although Gonzaga always drew students from other parts of the city as well, the departure of the Swampoodle Irish for the suburbs in the mid-20th century and more especially their replacement by poorer non-Catholics, brought on another period of difficulties. A decline in enrollment and the great inner-city riot of 1968 led some to suggest that Gonzaga should be closed, or moved to a more affluent area. However, the Jesuits once again persisted, and the school survived. In the last years of the 20th century, the school even expanded, adding several new buildings and a large playing field and field house. Today Gonzaga has regained its former status. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial referred to the institution as “the premier Catholic high school of Washington.”