On a vacant lot facing the McKim Center, once stood a mid-nineteenth century Greek revival townhouse that served as the Jewish Working Girls Home in the early 1900s. The home at 1200 East Baltimore Street was a boarding house operated by the Daughters in Israel, founded in 1890 to aid immigrant girls and daughters of immigrants.
The adjoining vacant lot at 1208 East Baltimore Street was the former site of the acclaimed Russian Night School, run by Baltimorean Henrietta Szold, who later achieved fame as the founder of Hadassah, the Zionist women’s organization. Szold’s work with the Russian Night School reaffirmed her commitment to the often-despised Eastern European Jewish immigrants, whom she found to be intelligent, cultured, and well-versed in history and literature.
The Russian Night School closed in 1898 after city officials assured its directors that public night schools for immigrants would soon open.