Photo credit: Michael O. Bourne , 01/1997

Property Name: McKim's School
Date Listed: 3/30/1973
Inventory No.: B-19
Location: 1120, Baltimore St., E., Baltimore, Baltimore City

Description: William Howard, the designer of the Barnum’s City Hotel in Baltimore (demolished 1889) and William Small who designed the Archbishop’s Residence on North Charles Street were the architects for this archaeologically accurate Greek-style building. The designers copied the Temple of Athens and Hephaestus, better known as the Thesium, in Athens, for the granite façade of the school. The sides were derived from the north wing of the Propylaia on the Athenian Acropolis. Six freestone Doric columns, 17 feet tall, support the entablature and pediment. The interior was originally a single large room with a brick floor. Subsequently, two small rooms were created and the brick floor was covered with hardwood and a wooden ceiling hung beneath the pitched roof. Further alterations were made in 1945, when the building was adapted for use as a neighborhood recreation center.

Significance: In the early 19th century, Quaker merchant John McKim (1742-1819) conceived the idea of a school for the education of indigent youth. His school, which served the kindergarten level upward, opened soon after this building was completed and continued in operation until the Civil War, when it became a facility for younger children only. This project was conducted until 1945 when a youth program was added along with athletic training and a Bible School. In 1924, the Friends offered the building as a place of worship to an Italian Presbyterian congregation. This led to an alliance of Friends and Presbyterians which is today the McKim Community Association.