Did you know the Homewood campus is about to turn 100?

Johns Hopkins left the university his 300-acre estate known as Clifton with the intention that it become the location for the university.  The trustees elected to locate in downtown Baltimore until sufficient funds were available for construction of the new campus.  By the 1890’s, when the university outgrew to downtown location, Clifton was no longer an option as section had been sold for operating funds and other portions were designated off-limits for development.

In 1894, Hopkins first President, Daniel Coit Gilman asked William Keyser to help find a new site for the campus.  Working in secret with his cousin William Wyman and a group of four friends, he was able to assemble the 179-acre site we now know as the Homewood campus.  One of the most beautiful university campuses in the world, Keyser and Wyman are memorialized with our formal quadrangles named in their honor.

In 1902, a design competition was held to determine “a general scheme determining what style of architecture should be used and what arrangement of the property can best be made looking into its gradual development . . . so that in years to come the groups of buildings, campus, athletic grounds, dormitories, etc., will form a symmetrical whole.”

The scheme by architects Parker and Thomas, with a circular drive off the intersection of Charles and 34th Streets leading to interconnected quadrangles whose main axis was set an angle to the city street grid was selected by the university’s trustees. 

Homewood Field and the Greenhouse were located and constructed in accordance with this original scheme.  Meanwhile, Hopkins began fund-raising efforts to construct academic buildings at the new campus and by 1912 had raised $1.2M that allowed the establishment of a building fund.  Parker and Thomas were engaged to refine the campus plan and develop the design for Gilman Hall.  Inspired by comments from the faculty, the resulting layout rotated the axis of the campus to align with Charles Street and moved the Gilman Hall location from the north end of the main quadrangle to the west side facing the East Gate entrance.  These changes resulted in what has become the iconic image of Johns Hopkins University.


In 1913, with funds in hand for Gilman Hall and a commitment from the State of Maryland to pay for Maryland Hall, construction began on both buildings.  Reflecting optimism regarding the university and it’s potential for growth, Gilman Hall was built with it’s colonnade ready to accept future buildings while Maryland Hall was sited on what is now known as Wyman Quadrangle rather than safely attached to the Gilman colonnade.

Maryland Hall was completed in 1914 with the School of Engineering moving to the new campus that fall.  Gilman Hall was finished in 1915.  The School of Arts and Sciences joined Engineering at Homewood in 1916.

How will you celebrate the 100th anniversary of the campus?

Information for this blog was gathered from the Sheridan Libraries’ Ferdinand Hamburger Archives.  For more information on the history of the Homewood campus and many of its buildings, see  http://old.library.jhu.edu/collections/specialcollections/archives/buildinghist.html