Bache-Martin Elementary School has a long history of serving students both in the Fairmount/Francisville/Spring Garden communities as well as the city as a whole. The Alexander Dallas Bache School was constructed in 1905. Bache was a professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, the first president of the National Academy of Sciences, the first principal and founder of the nation’s second public high school (Central High School in Philadelphia), and great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin. The Willis and Elizabeth Martin Orthopedic School was constructed in 1936 with WPA funding. The Martin school was the first one in Philadelphia designed specifically for teaching physically handicapped students, and was named after the handicapped Philadelphia jurist and health care reformer and his philanthropist wife. In 1943, the school became a center for deaf, severely hard of hearing and partially signed classes. Both schools are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Bache-Martin is a K-8 neighborhood elementary school serving just under 500 students. Our K-4 students, along with many of our special needs classes are in the one-story Martin Building. The building is fully accessible, and we are proud to continue the tradition of serving students with special needs today. The three-story Bache building across the street houses our middle school students, a science lab, Bright Futures programs, our band room, and our library. In November 2018, we successfully re-opened our long-shuttered school library. Our fundraising efforts enabled us to obtain books, furniture, an on-line cataloging system, decor, and supplies. We now boast a collection of over 10,000 books of fiction and non-fiction and our students are thrilled to be able to check books out each week, and have a place to work on research projects for their classes. We also have a part-time library coordinator who assists the classes 3 days per week.