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The Baltimore City College (BCC), also referred to as The Castle on the Hill, historically The College, and most commonly City, is a public college-preparatory magnet school in Baltimore, Marylandmarker, U.S. Despite its name, the school is not a college, i.e. an institution of higher education, as it lacks the authority to confer bachelor's degrees. The City College curriculum includes the International Baccalaureate Programme and emphasizes study in the classics and liberal arts. Admission to City College is competitive. Applicants from Baltimore and the surrounding area are evaluated using a combination of grades and standardized test scores.

Established in 1839 as an all-male institution, City College is the third oldest public high school in the United States, predated by the English High School of Boston (1829) and the Central High School of Philadelphiamarker (1836). The school was located in three different buildings in downtown Baltimore before relocating in 1928 to its current 38-acre (153,781 m²) campus at 33rd Street and The Alameda in the Waverly neighborhood of north Baltimore. Following an extensive renovation of the school's main building in 1978, the school became coeducational.

City College has maintained a strong academic tradition and has many notable alumni including a Nobel Laureate, a Wolf Prize recipient, Pulitzer Prize winners, and leaders in business, military, and state and national politics. City College is a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence (1999–2000), one of only two public secondary schools in Baltimore City to receive the award, a Maryland Blue Ribbon High School, a Maryland Character Education High School of the Year (1999) and a National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Breakthrough High School (2003). In the May 2007 Newsweek report on the top 1200 schools in the US, City College ranked 258. The previous year the school was ranked 206. A long-standing athletic rivalry exists between City College and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, though centered around the annual City–Poly football game, the rivalry extends to other sports as well as academics.


Print of the school on Holliday and Fayette Streets circa 1869
The creation of a male high school "in which the higher branches of English and classical literature only should be taught", was authorized unanimously by the City Council of Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker on March 7, 1839. Accordingly, a building on what was then Courtland Street (now Preston Gardens at St. Paul Place) was acquired to serve as the new high school. The school opened it doors on October 20, 1839 with 46 students and 1 teacher, Nathan C. Brooks. The school was housed in three different locations in its first three years of existence before returning to the original building on Courtland Street. Finally, in 1843 the city council allocated $23,000 to acquire the Assembly Rooms at the northwestern corner of Fayette and Holliday Streets for the school. In 1850, the city council granted the board of school commissioners the right to confer graduates of the school with certificates, and the following year the school held its first commencement ceremony in 1851.

In 1865, in accordance with a recommendation from the Board of Commissioners of the Baltimore City public schools, the school began offering a five-year track, as part of a process aimed at elevating the school to the status of a college so that it could grant its graduates baccalaureate degrees. The following year on October 9, 1866, as another part of this process, the school was renamed "The Baltimore City College" (BCC) by act of the city council. The city council failed to take any further action, and although the school changed nominally, it was never granted the power to confer Bachelor of Arts degrees.

The building on Fayette and Holliday Streets had been in a state of decline for two decades. It was not until 1873, when a fire spread from the Holliday Street Theater to the "Assembly Rooms", that the city council finally decided to expend the resources to erect a building for City College. A lot was acquired on Howard Street opposite Centre Street and the city council allocated $150,000 for the construction of the new building. The new English Gothic revival-styled building was dedicated on February 1, 1875 and the school moved in the following week.

Baltimore City College, 2009

The Tudor Gothic building which housed the school lasted until 1892, when it was undermined by the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tunnel from Camden Station to Mount Royal Station and collapsed. In 1895, a new structure, designed by the architects Baldwin and Pennington, was erected on the site. This new building quickly became overcrowded and an annex was established on 26th Street. The addition did not help with the increase in school-aged youth beginning to attend City College by World War I. During the 1920s, alumni began a campaign to provide the school with a more suitable building, and in 1926 ground was broken for a massive Collegiate Gothic stone castle at 33rd Street and The Alameda. This new structure cost almost $3 million.

The school began admitting African-American students following the landmark ruling Brown v. Board of Education. In September 1954, entered City College. The administration also sent two African-American men, Eugene Parker and Pierre Davis, to teach at school in 1956. Parker taught at City College for 30 years and Davis, after teaching for one year, returned as the school's first black principal in 1971.

In 1978, at the urging of concerned alumni, City College under went its first major capital renovations. When the campus reopened, the high school welcomed women for the first time. The all-male tradition did not end easily; alumni had argued for the uniqueness of a single-sex educational system and convinced the task force studying the issue to vote 11–6 in favor of keeping the all-male tradition. The Board of School Commissioners, in a reversal, voted to admit women citing constitutional concerns.


City College stands on a 38-acre (153,781 m²) campus in northeast Baltimore at the intersection of 33rd street and the Alameda. The campus consists of two buildings, the Gothic-style edifice known locally as the "Castle on the Hill" that sits in the center of the campus, and the power plant building east of the castle. In addition to providing the building's utilities, the power plant originally housed five work shops: an electrical shop, a mechanical shop, a metal shop, a printing shop, and a wood shop. Only the main building is in academic use by the school. Both buildings were designed by the architecture firm of Buckler and Fenhagen. Just south of the main building is Alumni Field, the school's stadium, which serves as home to the football, boy's and girl's lacrosse and track teams. During a major building renovation in 1978 a modern gymnasium was added to the southwest corner of the main building.

On June 30, 2003, the current building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the result of an Alumni Association initiative. The listing of the building coincided with its 75th anniversary. The previous location of the school on Howard Street is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On April 24, 2007 the Castle on the Hill earned the additional distinction of being a Baltimore City Landmark. This new status means that the building’s exterior cannot be altered without approval of the city Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.On June 21 2007, City's alumni association received a historic preservation award from Baltimore Heritage for its leadership role in preserving the building as an historic Baltimore landmark.


City College students at their Information Technology class

Throughout most of the 20th century the college preparatory curriculum at City College was divided into two tracks: the "A" course and the "B" course. Though both tracks were intended to provide students with the skills necessary for college, the "A" course was intended to be more rigorous. In the early 1990s, Principal Joseph Antenson removed the two tier system because he believed it to be racially discriminatory. In 1998, the academic program took on the general form in which it exists today, when Principal Joseph M. Wilson introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB Program) into the 11th and 12th grade curricula. The IB Program is a comprehensive, liberal arts program that must be completed in students’ junior and senior years. Students now have the option to pursue a standard college preparatory curriculum, the IB Program, or a combination of the two.

In 2007, opposition to the continuation of the IB Program arose. Members of the Baltimore City College Alumni Association argued that the IB Program was diverting a significant amount of the school's resources, in order to benefit a fraction of the student population. Only approximately 30 students are in the full IB Diploma Program at City College. Some members also argued that the rigidity of the program did not give students enough flexibility. Citing these concerns, the alumni association encouraged the school to replace the IB Program with the "A course" and expand the number of Advanced Placement courses offered. The alumni association's recommendation, though non-binding, was intended to persuade the school to terminate the IB program and replace it with a more equitable and flexible curriculum. Nevertheless, the school administration is moving ahead with plans to expand the IB Program by incorporating the IB Middle Years Program into the 9th and 10th grade curricula.

In addition to the 23 IB courses, the school offers . Both programs have contributed to the academic ranking of the school. In the 1999–2000 academic year, City College was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School. In June 2005, the Johns Hopkins Magazine reported that the Johns Hopkins University had awarded full time, four-year scholarships to ten seniors. In the May 2007, Newsweek report of the nation's top 1200 schools, City College was ranked 258 and in the 2006 report the school was ranked 206. The expansion of the number of AP and IB courses offered allowed City to perform well in the Newsweek rankings, which are based heavily on the number of AP and IB courses offered.


1839:   46
1851: 287
1900: 600
1928: 2500
1945: 1422
1964: 3880
1967: 3088
1997: 1279
2007: 1353
Students wishing to enroll in City College must apply in the 8th grade. Enrollment is open to both residents and non-residents of Baltimore City, though non-residents must pay tuition. Eligibility is based on a composite score that is determined by the Baltimore City Public School System. The school system generates the composite score based on a student's grades in the 7th grade and first quarter of the 8th grade, and a student's performance on a national standardized test, with the student's grades receiving double the weight as the test scores.

The enrollment at City College in 2007 was 1353 students. Of those students, 504 were males representing approximately 37.25% of the student populations, and the remaining 849 students were females, representing approximately 62.75% of the student population. The 1229 students who identified themselves as African-American comprised 90.84% of the student population. An additional 105 students identified themselves as white, comprising 7.76% of the student population. The remaining 1.4% of the population identified themselves as Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian.

Extracurricular activities

City College offers more than 20 student clubs and organizations. These activities include chapters of national organizations such as National Honor Society (established at City in 1927) and Quill and Scroll. City College offers service clubs such as the Red Crossmarker Club and Campus Improvement Association. In addition, City offers clubs and activities including Drama which holds the annual play, Art, Model UN, Band, and Dance. Other unique clubs and activities include One City One Book, an organization that invites the entire school community to read one book selected by faculty and invites the author of the book for a reading, discussion, and question and answer period. In 2007, Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur Fellow, and novelist Edward P. Jones discussed his book Lost in the City. There is also the in school poetry club known as Expressionz.Expressionz is a club held in the Drama and Creative Writing teacher, Mr. McBe's room at least once a month. They gather and share their literary works. This past year, they hosted the first ever Poet Explosion, inviting poets such as, Olivia, E-the-Poet-Emcee, BlacberryLadie, Temple, Aquil Mizan, K. Lo. Flo., and Sabarah. Alongside these performances were the actual students that participate regularly in Expressionz. The evening was emceed by the graduating President Grace Givens.Moreover, the campus school store is completely student ran and managed by the Student Government. One of City College's most notable academic teams is the It's Academic team which participates on the It's Academic TV Show.

Bancroft and Carrollton-Wight Literary Societies

The origins of the speech and debate program at City College lie in the Bancroft Literary Association, which was established in 1876. In 1878, a second competing society, the Carrollton Literary Society, was established. That society was later renamed the Carrollton-Wight Literary Society, after its first faculty adviser, Professor Charles Wight. The two societies competed through the 1960s but became dormant in the late 1970s.

In 1997, the two societies were resurrected as the Baltimore City College speech and debate team. The speech team has retained the name of the Bancroft Society and the debate team has retained the name of the Carrollton-Wight Society. The team currently competes in the Baltimore Catholic Forensic League, the Baltimore Urban Debate League, and the National Forensic League. The team has had success at the national level, advancing at the Harvard Universitymarker Invitational Tournament, the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament, and the National Forensic League National Speech Tournament. Mock trial was not a traditional part of the literary societies, but it has been incorporated into the speech and debate program. In 2006, City College defeated the 2005 State Champion Squad from Richard Montgomery High Schoolmarker to advance to the semifinals of state championship, but was later defeated by local rival the Park School of Baltimoremarker, which advanced to the final trial.


Baltimore City College Marching Knights' halftime show at M&T Bank Stadium, November 10, 2007
The marching band at City College was created in the late 1940s. At the time, the instrumental music program consisted of the orchestra, concert band and marching band. The director who brought the band to prominence was Dr. Donald Norton. In 1954, while on sabbatical, he was replaced by Professor Charles M. Stengstacke. The 65 member concert band doubled as a marching band in the fall. During halftime performances at home the band would form the shape of a heart or a car, but always ending the performance by forming the letters C-I-T-Y.

In the 1980s, under James Russell Perkins, these groups grew in size and changed styles, adding "soulful" dance steps. Perkins’s groups toured and traveled the east coast. They received superior ratings at district and state festivals. Perkins is responsible for the creation of the City College Jazz Band, the “Knights of Jazz”.

In 1994, Alvin T. Wallace became Band Director. During his tenure, a wind ensemble was added and the marching band grew to include over 150 members. In 1999, the band swept the top categories in the Disney Worldmarker high school band competition. In 2006, the wind ensemble received a grade of superior at the district adjudication festival and marched in the Baltimore Mayor's Christmas Day Parade.


The City College choir was founded in 1950 by Professor Donald Regier. Originally a co-curricular subject with only 18 members, by 1954 it had developed into a major subject of study with 74 students enrolled.Under the direction of Linda Hall, today's choir consists of four groups: the Mixed Chorus, the Concert Choir, the Singin'/Swingin' Knights, and the Knights and Daze Show Choir. The Mixed Choir is opened to all students at City College and currently has a membership of approximately 135 students. The Concert Choir is a more selective group consisting of about 50 students, who must audition for their places in the choir. The Singin'/Swingin' Knights is an even more selective group composed of 25 students. The Knights and Daze Show Choir is a group of students, who perform a choreographed dance routine while they sing. With the exception of the Knights and Daze Show Choir, which performs jazz and pop music, the choir's repertoire consists of gospel music, spirituals, and the classics of composers like Handel and Practorious.

The choir has traveled to Europe on several occasions; its first trip was in 1999, after receiving an invitation to perform at the Choralfest in Arezzomarker, Italy. In 2003, the choir returned to Italy to perform at the annual Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The choir has also performed in France and Spain.

On October 2, 2007, the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hallmarker announced that the City College choir was one of four high school choirs selected to participate in the National High School Choral Festival on March 10, 2008. The four choirs will perform Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem under the direction of Craig Jessop, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director. The choirs will also be led by their own directors in performing choral selections of their choosing.


During the late 1880s, inter-scholastic sports became a feature of school life and a number of teams were begun in various sports. The formal organization of an athletic program did not occur until 1895. During the early years of the athletic program, City College played mainly against college teams because few other secondary schools existed in Maryland. The 1895 football schedule included St. John's College, Swarthmore Collegemarker, the United States Naval Academymarker, University of Marylandmarker, and Washington Collegemarker.The current City College athletic program consists of six boy's varsity teams, seven girl's varsity teams, and five coeducational teams. The boy's sports played are baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling. The girl's teams are badminton, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, volleyball. The five co-ed teams are cross country running, indoor track and field, swimming, track and field, and tennis. Although much of City's athletic history involves boys sports, it was the girl's basketball team that won City's first state championship in 2009. Four hours later, City's boys basketball team won the Maryland Class 2A championship, beating Douglass(PGmarker) at the Comcast Centermarker.


The football program began in the 1880s, yet at the time the school faced mainly collegiate opponents, since few other schools in the area fielded teams. By the early 1900s this trend shifted, and the team began competing with other high schools. Between 1936 and 1940, under coach Harry Lawrence, City College remained undefeated for 38 consecutive games, which included 35 wins, three ties, and four state championships. In 1959, George Young, who would later become the general manager of the New York Giants, became head coach of the team. Young coached City College to a total of six Maryland state championships. He left after the 1967 season to become an offensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts.

In 1975, George Petrides, a City College alumnus, became head coach of the football team and has remained in this position for 35 years. During his tenure, Petrides has led the team through a 29 game winning streak—the longest consecutive winning streak in the history of Maryland football—and to two consecutive Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference championships in 1991 and 1992. On September 11, 2006, Petrides was honored as the Baltimore Ravens High School Coach of the Week for the third time.

City v.
Poly (November 2006) M&T Bank Stadium

City–Poly football rivalry

The City–Poly football rivalry is the oldest American football rivalry in Maryland, and one of the oldest public school football rivalries in the U.S. The rivalry began in 1889, when City College met the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) at Clifton park for a football scrimmage. Little is known about the first game, except that it was played between the City JV team and Poly with City emerging as the victor. City remained undefeated in the series until 1908. In November 2006, City and Poly clashed in the 118th City–Poly football game.

One of the most memorable City–Poly games occurred on Thanksgiving Day 1965, at Baltimore's Memorial Stadiummarker, with some 25,000 fans in attendance. City beat Poly 52–6, and completed a 10–0 season with the team being ranked eighth in the nation by a national sports poll. City's 52–6 victory over Poly in that game is the largest margin of victory in the history of the series. Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke was the quarterback and Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson was the captain of that team. The game is no longer played on Thanksgiving or at Memorial Stadium, but is now located at the home of the Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadiummarker, in downtown Baltimore. With 2007's 26–20 win by City, Poly leads the series 58–54–6 (counting the first 15 scrimmages won by City).


The lacrosse program at City College is the oldest high school lacrosse program in the state of Maryland. The informal playing of lacrosse began at the school in 1879, when a group of students decided to field a team; this continued annually until 1891. In 1902, lacrosse became a permanent part of the school's athletic program. During the program's inception, City College played against collegiate lacrosse teams, including Johns Hopkins University. It was not until City's rival Poly fielded a team in 1912 that the school had high school opponents. At least 10 former members of the men's lacrosse team are in the National Lacrosse Hall of Famemarker. Currently, both men's and women's lacrosse are played at City.

Student publications

The 1967 Green Bag

The Green Bag

The Green Bag is the senior class annual at City College. Published continuously since 1896, The Green Bag is the oldest publication still in existence at the school. G. Warfield Hobbs Jr., president of the 1896 senior class and first editor-in-chief of the Green Bag, gave the publication its name in recognition of the role of City College graduates in political leadership. Historically, the political appointees of the Governor of Maryland have been known as the "green bag", though the derivation of the term is unknown. The first yearbooks contained sketches of faculty and seniors, and included recollections, anecdotes, stories, and quotes significant to the student body. Underclassmen were included for the first time in 1948. In 2007, The Green Bag released its first full-color edition.

The most controversial issue of the Green Bag was published in 1900 when Members of the senior class used the annual to make fun of their professors. The school board attempted to censor the edition by requiring the Green Bag to be reviewed by Principal Francis Soper. The yearbook had already been printed, and in defiance of the school board, the editors refused to have the edition censored and reprinted. The school board responded by withholding the diplomas of six of the editors and the business manager and by preventing the school from holding a public commencement ceremony. One of the boys expelled, Clarence Keating Bowie, became a member of the school board in 1926.

The Collegian, Vol.

The Collegian

The Collegian has been the school newspaper of City College since its first publication as a bi-weekly newspaper in 1929. Though several other publications existed in 1929, The Collegian is the only publication other than the Green Bag still printed. Originally, the paper was both managed and printed by students. During the 1930s, The Collegian won numerous awards including second place in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's annual contest for five years in a row. In recent years, the publication has waned. Budget cuts have reduced the number of issues printed. Citing the decline of The Collegian and increasing disorder in the school, several students started an underground publication entitled Omnibus in May 2007.

Alumni Association

2007 Hall of Fame ceremony
The Baltimore City College Alumni Association Inc.(BCCAA) was established in 1866 as a support network for City College. The BCCAA holds an annual meeting at the school every November and its Board of Governors meets the first Monday of each month at the school.

The BCCAA publishes the class reunion guide, established and maintains a life membership endowment fund, presents Golden Apple Award annually to faculty members, sponsors the Hall of Fame selection and induction, publishes a semi-annual newsletter, maintains an alumni data base and assists with numerous projects designed to enrich student life and improve the facility.

Trustees of the Baltimore City College Scholarship Funds

To succeed a similar organization which was established in 1924, the Trustees of the Baltimore City College Scholarship Funds, Inc., was established and incorporated in 1983. The Trustees manage numerous endowments, most of which provide annual scholarships to graduating seniors based on criteria stipulated by the donors. Combined endowment assets are currently valued at or around $1,500,000 covering 34 annual scholarships. To recognize the custodianship provided by the Trustees, the BCCAA has placed a bronze plaque in the main hall of the school which carries an individually cast nameplate for each of the 34 permanent endowments held by the Trustees.

Baltimore City College Hall of Fame

The Baltimore City College Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held every October. Alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the school, the city, state, country or the world are selected to become members with former inductees, alumni and students attending the two-hour ceremony. One of the 2007 inductees was Robert Hormats, uh Vice-President at Goldman Sachs.

Notable alumni

Many City College alumni have become civil servants, including three of the 10 individuals currently representing the state of Marylandmarker in the U.S. Congress—Congressman Elijah Cummings, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, and Senator Ben Cardin. Among graduates with significant military service are two Commandants of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Frederick C. Billard and Admiral J. William Kime, as well as 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Beser, the only individual to serve on both the Enola Gay when it dropped Little Boymarker and Bocks Car when it dropped Fat Manmarker. In addition, three City College alumni are recipients of the Medal of Honor.

The list of alumni includes prominent scientists, such as theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler, who coined the term black hole and received the 1997 Wolf Prize in Physics, Martin Rodbell, who received the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of G-proteins, and Abel Wolman, the "father" of chlorinated drinking water and a National Medal of Science recipient. Notable writers such as Leon Uris, author of the Exodus, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist Russell Baker are also alumni. Businessmen, who have graduated from the school, include David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, and David T. Abercrombie, namesake and co-founder of Abercrombie & Fitch.

Notable faculty members

Coach Parker



  1. Steiner (1894), p. 207.
  2. Steiner (1894), p. 208.
  3. Steiner (1894), p. 209.
  4. Steiner (1894), p. 218.
  5. Steiner (1894), p. 220.
  6. Steiner (1894), p. 221.
  7. Leonhart (1939), p. 20.
  8. Daneker (1988), p. 38.
  9. Daneker (1988), p. 58.
  10. Leonhart (1939), p. 120.
  11. Leonhart (1939), p. 124.
  12. Leonhart (1939), p. 233.
  13. Daneker (1988), p. 66.
  14. Sirota (1954), p. 63.
  15. Sirota (1954), p. 62.
  16. Leonhart (1939), p. 198
  17. Leonhart (1939), p. 200.
  18. Leonhart (1939), p. 219.
  19. Leonhart (1939), p. 221.
  20. Leonhart (1939), p. 237.
  21. Leonhart (1939), p. 77.
  22. Leonhart (1939), p. 126.
  23. Leonhart (1939), p. 274.
  24. Leonhart (1939), p. 303.
  25. Leonhart (1939), p. 277.
  26. Leonhart (1939), p. 293.
  27. Daneker (1988), p. 33.
  28. Daneker (1988), p. 123.
  29. Daneker (1988)


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