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Baltimore City College, founded in 1839, is the third oldest public high school in the United States. Committed to the pursuit of excellence, we are a citywide college preparatory institution with selective admissions and an emphasis on the liberal arts and sciences. As the International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for Baltimore City Public Schools, we provide academic programs that incorporate communication, intercultural awareness, and inquiry-based learning. By offering every student rigorous studies and high caliber extracurricular and co-curricular activities, we aspire for our students to demonstrate excellence and to succeed in the best colleges. We strive for our students to become committed and responsible citizens active in their local and global communities.


Our vision for the school is to produce graduates who enjoy studying and learning and are ready, willing and able to perform as responsible leaders. This is consistent with our long history of producing local, regional and national leaders in government, politics, business and the arts. Our graduates include a Nobel Laureate, three Congressional Medal of Honor winners, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winners, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, professional athletes and prominent persons in the arts, theatre, film and television.




On October 20, 1839, Nathan C. Brooks, Principal, gathered forty-six students together to begin what was later to be called Baltimore City College.

There are few detailed records of the life of the first years of City College. No list of the early graduates exists since records were not kept until the school began to grant certificates of graduation in 1851. The sole personal characterization that remains came from Professor Brooks in his annual report to the School Board in 1839: "… I must say that I have never superintended any school in which the boys were more generally prompt in attendance, more industrious, more respectful to myself, more kind and obliging to each other, or more correct in their general deportment, than students of the High School. Their conduct is truly praiseworthy."

The school relocated a number of times in buildings downtown during its early years and moved to its current building at 33rd St. and The Alameda in 1929. At a cost of nearly $3 million raised largely by the alumni association, the Gothic stone building that now houses City College was designed by the architecture firm of Buckler and Fenhagen. This same firm, which is the precursor to the current Baltimore firm of Ayers Saint Gross, also designed the mausoleum at Green Mount Cemetery where Bromo Seltzer founder Isaac Emerson is buried, Shriver Hall at Hopkins University, and many public schools throughout Maryland.

Originally all male and all white, City College began admitting African Americans in 1954 after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. The school began admitting women (against the wishes of a majority on the alumni board at the time) in 1978 after undergoing a massive restoration project. In 2003 on the building’s 175th anniversary, City College was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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