Eastern Female High School
249, Aisquith St., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Eastern Female High School, built in 1869-1870, is typical of the Italian Villa mode of late 19th century architecture, as evidenced by its square plan, towers, and bracketing. In the façade, interest is achieved through the vertical lines of the towers, narrow windows, and porch columns, broken by the horizontal lines of the stone foundation, the balustrade, the belt courses, and the prominent cornice. The most noticeable feature of the brick, western façade is the wooden loggia which stretches between the towers. Other details which heighten the interest are the triple central window, the pediment above it, and the brick dripstones punctuated by white keystones at the street level. The west façade is symmetrical, consisting of two corner towers which contain two bays of two windows each and a narrower central bay. All lower roof eaves are decorated by a deep cornice supported by elaborate double brackets except over the central bay where the cornice is broken briefly by a classical pediment. The towers, higher than the rest of the building, are capped with flat, pyramidal roofs. There are two large flat arches on the loggia at the two end bays which are supported by square columns. A projecting arch located in the central bay is supported by double columns. The entire length of the loggia has a balustrade of white wood. All of the windows are flat-arched except for a triad of round-arched windows on the second story of the central bay, one large central window and two narrower flanking ones. The triad has an "eyebrow" of white stone. The north and south elevations are low-key variations of the western façade, without porches, and with only one tower on the south.
Founded in 1844, Eastern Female High School was one of the pioneer high schools in the country devoted to secondary education for women. Of the two female high schools established by the Baltimore City Council in 1844, the Eastern Female High School is the only one extant. In 1851 the first school building was demolished. Colonel R. Snowden Andrews (1830-1903), a charter member of the Baltimore chapter of the AIA, was selected to design a new building for the school. Begun in 1869, this two-story brick building was dedicated in September of 1870. The new school could accommodate 600 pupils, and contained the latest heating and ventilation systems. Among the prominent graduates were Lizette Woodworth Reese (1872), a poet, and Mrs. William Buttner (1904), one of the founders of the Campfire Girls. From its founding, the Eastern Female High School was noted for its innovative program which prepared girls for college or teacher’s school, or through a senior business course, for a vocation. The facilities included an art gallery and a library. In 1907 the high school moved to larger quarters, and since then a grammar school has occupied the 1867 building.