Tome School for Boys

The Tome School for Boys, originally located on Main Street in Port Deposit, Maryland was founded by Jacob Tome as a nonsectarian college preparatory school for boys. It opened for boarders and received its first students in 1894. It was part of a system of schools that began with kindergarten and extending through high school that was collectively known as the Jacob Tome Institute.

At Jacob Tome's death in 1898 he endowed the school such that in 1902 it is recorded to own both extensive buildings and to have a residual endowment of over $2 million. One of the results of the endowment was that between 1898 and 1902 the Jacob Tome School for Boys built a series of granite buildings on the bluffs above Port Deposit, overlooking the Susquehanna River. Architects William Boring and Edward Lippincott Tilton designed the structures in the beaux arts style. The 13 surviving buildings include Memorial Hall, three dormitories (Jackson, Madison, and Harrison), the Chesapeake Inn dormitory and dining hall, the Director's residence, the Monroe Gymnasium, and six Master's cottages. The tree-lined streets of the campus were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and converged at the steps of Memorial Hall.[3] Olmstead selected landscape architect Charles Wellford Leavitt to design the school's gardens.

The school enjoyed a prestigious reputation for a number of years. Its students included R. J. Reynolds, Jr. (son of R. J. Reynolds) as well as children of the Mellon and Carnegie families. The school property and buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district in 1984.

In 1942, the Tome campus was appropriated by Congress along with the land from 70 surrounding farms for use as a US Naval Training Center, and for the location of the Naval Academy Preparatory School (which was located on the former Tome campus). USNTC Bainbridge was activated on October 1, 1942 operated throughout World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the Cold War era. It closed as a military facility on March 31, 1976. During 34 years of operation, USNTC Bainbridge graduated over 500,000 recruits.

In 1942, the Tome School moved back to its original location on Main Street, Port Deposit. In the 1970s the school’s board of directors voted to change the school's charter and move the school to a new campus at North East, Maryland. The campus at North East is home to the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools (K-12).

The buildings of the former Tome School for Boys now sit abandoned on the southwest quadrant of the Bainbridge Naval Training Center on a 200' bluff overlooking the town of Port Deposit and the Susquehanna River. The historic district is comprised of 16 buildings on approximately 30 acres. All the buildings date from 1900 to 1905. The buildings are arranged around a quadrangle oriented northeast-southwest, except the Masters' cottage, which are located on a road down slope to the southeast of the quadrangle. The stone buildings are in an elaborate Beaux-Arts-influenced, Georgian Revival style. The Masters' cottages are frame and stucco in a vernacular residential style. The addition of exterior fire escapes, minor changes in fenestration, and replacement of doors and roofs have not compromised the integrity of the complex.

As of 2008 minor restoration and demolition work has commenced. A developer plans to turn the property and some of the existing buildings into a retirement community.

Vintage Photos & Postcards
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Contemporary Photos
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