On Wednesday, April 6, the historic Public School 103 in Upton caught fire. According to the Baltimore Sun, the school, which had been unoccupied for many years, sustained an estimated $50,000 in damage.
Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African American Supreme Court Justice and leader in the Civil Rights movement, attended Public School 103 from grades 1 through 8. The school was built in 1877, the final year of Reconstruction, and was named after militant black abolitionist and Presbyterian minister Henry Highland Garnet.
The Baltimore National Heritage Area has been working with the city since 2008 to research the building’s history, to stabilize it, to nominate it as a National Historic Landmark, and to determine a plan for the future use of the building. Through the help of an advisory committee appointed by the Mayor, much progress had been made, including stabilizing the building a few years ago.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown. The Baltimore City Fire Department is investigating and expects to have a report on the fire damage in a matter of a few days or weeks. The P.S. 103 heritage team is gearing up to address the damage and the building’s future once the Fire Department issues its report.
Go to the Baltimore Heritage website for information on P.S. 103, or contact the Baltimore National Heritage Area at 410-878-6411. And, Baltimore Heritage’s post on the fire and this historic building has more great photos from Eli.