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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

McKim Free School

 
 
McKim Free School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, April 13, 2008
1. McKim Free School Marker
Inscription. Before Baltimore's public school system opened in 1829, education was the concern of charitable and religious organizations. An early leader in the education movement was the McKim Free School, established through a bequest of Quaker merchant John McKim. In his will, he specified that $600 be appropriated annualy from his estate for the support of a free school, administered by the Society of Friends. The school was open to indigent youth of both sexes regardless of religion.

Classes were held in rented or private quarters for twelve years until the building was completed in 1833. Designed by William F. Small and William Howard, the McKim building is the most architecturally accurate classic Greek Revival building in Baltimore. The facade is a three-fifths scale mode of the Theseum, and the flanks are modeled on the Propylaea, both Athenian temples.

During the Civil War the school was converted to a childcare facility. In 1924 the Friends offered the building as a place of worship to a Presbyterian congregation. Since then, the building has served a variety of educational and recreational purposes supported by the United Presbyterian Church, the Society of Friends and others.
 
Erected by the City of Baltimore, William Donald Schaefer, mayor, rededicated 2005 Martin O'Malley,
McKim Free School image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, April 13, 2008
2. McKim Free School
mayor.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland, Baltimore City historical markers marker series.
 
Location. 39° 17.469′ N, 76° 36.067′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of East Baltimore Street and North Aisquith Street on East Baltimore Street. Touch for map. Marker is on the front of the McKim Free School, to the right of the front door. Access to the marker may be difficult due to a fence around the property. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. On to Yorktown (a few steps from this marker); 1781 Friends Meeting House (within shouting distance of this marker); Lloyd Street Synagogue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Lloyd Street Synagogue (about 300 feet away); 1029 East Baltimore Street (about 400 feet away); 1023 East Baltimore Street (about 400 feet away); B'nai Israel Synagogue (about 500 feet away); 1017 - 1021 East Baltimore Street (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
 
Categories. EducationNotable Buildings
 
McKim's Free School image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 5, 2015
3. McKim's Free School
This c. 1840 painting of McKim's Free School hangs in the Maryland Historical Society Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

“When John McKim died in 1819, he left a bequest of six hundred dollars to provide a school for children whose parents were unable to pay for their education. Under the direction of his son, Isaac, trustees selected from the Friends Meeting on the east side of the Jones Falls organized a school they hoped would ‘prove the basis of extensive and lasting benefits to the poor, and to the interests of society, by the diffusion of useful knowledge, and moral instruction among a class of society who have not the means of procuring these advantages for themselves.’ Baltimore architects William F. Small and William Howard designed the school in the then-popular Greek Revival-style and the classes began in 1839.” — Maryland Historical Society
Lion's Head image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 18, 2011
4. Lion's Head
Architectural detail on the McKim Free School building
Isaac McKim image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, September 5, 2015
5. Isaac McKim
This c. 1815 Portrait of Isaac McKim hangs in the Maryland Historical Society Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Isaac McKim was born in Baltimore, the son of a prosperous shipping merchant, John McKim. In 1796, he joined his father, John McKim, in business and began engaging in the South American trade and copper business. He quickly amassed a sizeable fortune which allowed him to donate $30,000 to the defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812. McKim went on to have a successful political career, serving in the Maryland Senate for one term and later serving multiple terms in Congress. He also took an interest in the Baltimore banking business and became a member of the first Board of Directors of the B & 0 Railroad.

One of the many philanthropic gestures McKim made to the city, was the construction of the Baltimore Free School on land his father had donated to the city.” — Maryland Historical Society
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,580 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 13, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   3, 4, 5. submitted on September 12, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
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