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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Jacob D. Howard, 06/2002
Baltimore City College
Inventory No.: B-5083
Other Name(s): 1928 Building
Date Listed: 6/30/2003
Location: 3220 The Alameda, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1928
Architect/Builder: Builder: J. Henry Miller
Description: Baltimore City College is a 360' long, 300' wide, stone Collegiate Gothic high school building featuring a 150' tall central tower that dominates the surrounding skyline. Known as the "Castle on the Hill," the building stands on 34 acres of land in northeast Baltimore in close proximity to the former Eastern High School, the site of Memorial Stadium, and Lake Montibello. The main structure is three stories high, constructed of random rubble with Indiana limestone trim. The exterior features multi-paned metal sash windows set into gothic arches, whimsical carved stone details, buttresses, an arcade, an a crenellated roofline. The plan of the building is a large rectangle with two courtyards flanking a central auditorium. Brick walls of the interior courtyard are punctuated by a series of bowed windows. The front section of the school facing north houses school offices, a faculty lounge, and a two-level library. Classrooms located on the east, south, and west elevations and along the courtyard take advantage of banks of windows for light and ventilation. A swimming pool, locker rooms, cafeteria, music rooms, and workshop spaces are located in the basement. Two major stair towers are situated at either end of the front facade. Four secondary stairs are located at the rear of the building. Extant original interior finishes include black and gray terrazzo floors in the main hall, a lobby space with limestone walls and flagstone flooring, plaster walls, vaulted ceilings, and decorative wood trim in the library. When the building was renovated in 1978, brightly painted metal classroom doors, modern school lockers, dropped acoustical tile ceilings, and some newer light fixtures altered the interior. Despite these alterations, the building maintains its historic integrity with the preservation of significant interior spaces and the overall original appearance of the exterior. Athletic fields, asphalt walkways, mature trees, two parking lots, and stone retaining walls surround the school building. A one-story high brick heating plant with square chimney stack and some gothic details compliments the building on the east. Significance: The Baltimore City College is historically significant as the third oldest high school in the nation, founded in 1839. For its first fifty years, at previous locations, it was the only high school in Baltimore exclusively for boys. As the demand for secondary education increased in the early 20th century, community-based high schools were built, yet Baltimore City College remained an elite high school providing a classical education for the city's best students. In the latter half of the 20th century, Baltimore City College was in the forefront of issues regarding the racial integration of the school system, open enrollment, and all male schools. Constructed by J. Henry Miller in 1928, Baltimore City College is architecturally significant. It was designed as a result of an architectural competition among Maryland's finest architects and was the most expensive school built at the time. It is Baltimore's best example of Collegiate Gothic design featuring many distinctive details unique among local high school buildings.
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