As we have been going through some files this summer, we came across a file on the “new” building, which is actually older than the “old” building.
The building was designed in 1898 by Joseph Evans Sperry who began practicing architecture at age 16 in his own office. But several years later, he was working with Francis Baldwin, a major architect in Baltimore. In 1877, he re-opened his own practice. By 1889 his office was in the old Central Savings Bank building on the SE corner of Lexington and Charles Streets, originally the Lorman house designed by Robert Cary Long, Sr. and remodeled for the bank by George A. Frederick.
In 1896 he moved his office to the Herald Building which he had designed, remaining there until it was destroyed in the Fire of 1904. In 1905, he relocated to the reconstructed Calvert Building which he had designed. Sperry is best known for designing the following:
In 1898, William S. Marston bought a tract of land between Cathedral Street and Maryland Avenue, and soon opened Marston’s University School for Boys. Several other private schools were located in the general vicinity, including Boys’ and Girls’ Latin, Bryn Mawr and Friends. The main building included study halls, a library, a kitchen and lunch room, an exercise and drill room, and restrooms. The gymnasium building included gymnastic equipment and an elevated running track.
Boys from Marson were not allowed to go to any event at Bryn Mawr, just across the street. However, in 1906, a student dressed in girl’s clothes and successfully attended a gymnastic exhibition. During dances at Bryn Mawy, the boys would tie the doors shut with roped, requiring someone to come cut them free. In 1908, the school moved to Charles Street and North Avenue, and then to Riderwood. It eventually closed in the late 1930’s, after Marston’s death.
In 1907, the City purchased the building for $50,000 to use as a public school for accelerated junior high students. In 1910, the school had almost 400 students and TWELVE teachers, only one of whom was male. The school was named for Robert E. Lee.
in 1962, the school underwent a transformation from academic education to more practical learning, and in 1969, it closed. But in 1970, it re-opened for a school for teenage mothers so they could complete high school.
The school finally closed for good in 1977 and in 1978, MedChi bought the building, reputedly for $1.00. Construction began in 1984 and was completed the following year.