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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: T. Noble, 12/1999
Howard Park-P.S. 218
Inventory No.: B-3670
Date Listed: 9/27/2000
Location: 4801 Liberty Heights Avenue & 3501 Howard Park Avenue, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1908; 1913; 1936
Architect/Builder: Architect: Lucius R. White, Jr.
Description: Howard Park P.S. 218 is an early 20th century brick school building located in the intact historic west Baltimore neighborhood of Howard Park. The school is on eof the remaining physical and visual anchors of this early 20th century residential neighborhood that developed along Liberty Heights Avenue, on eof the main western thoroughfares from Baltimore County into Baltimore City. The school was built in three phases over a period of 50 years. The earliest school building was constructed in 1908 and enlarged in 1913, in a vernacular Neo-classical style. In 1936, the building was again enlarged with a two-story, nine-classroom vernacular Art Deco addition to the southwest. Finally in 1957, the school was expanded once again with a modern addition to the northwest. Both the 1908/1913 and 1936 sections of the school are built of brick and accented with limestone details, visually uniting the construction phases. The school’s building phases are as distinguished, both stylistically and materially, on the interior as they are on the exterior. The original portion retains its large classrooms that typically feature decorative metal ceilings, built-in wood cabinets, and maple hardwood floors. The changing attitudes of school design of the 1920s and 30s is reflected in the sanitary glazed brick surfaces and plainly detailed classrooms of the 1936 addition. A 1957 addition stands to the west of the historic building. The impact of the addition on the integrity of the historic resource is minimal as the addition is connected to the 1936 building by a single narrow corridor off a secondary elevation. Other than this connection point, the historic resource is freestanding and independent of the addition. Significance: Howard Park P.S. 218 is locally significant to the Howard Park neighborhood as an intact surviving example of an early to mid 20th century neighborhood school that also represents distinctive architectural trends from the first half of the 20th century. The building is an important example of local early 20th century public education philosophies and the manifestation of these ideas in a school facility. The school’s period of significance begins with its construction in 1908, and although the building continued to function as a school until 1980, the end date for the period of significance is 1936, the point at which the historic sections of the school substantially achieved their present form and appearance. Built in 1908, the school is an excellent example of the classic American neighborhood school building in several ways. In 1908, the school was constructed to educate the founding families of what was then a suburban Baltimore County community. This simple facility mirrored the national trends in educational architecture as a two-story brick building with large, open classrooms with ample natural light. As the Howard Park community grew, the building was enlarged in 1913 to include a total of eleven classrooms to accommodate a rapidly growing school population. In 1918, the school was annexed to Baltimore City, transferring jurisdiction to the City school board. In response to the larger number of school students and to the scandal of the 1921 Strayer Survey of the Baltimore School District, which criticized the conditions of the city schools, an addition was built in 1936 to expand the footprint of the elementary school building. Twenty years later, in response to the community’s call for expanded recreational and educational facilities, another wing was added. In 1980, the school was decommissioned and vacated, and currently awaits rehabilitation.

 

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