The Abandoned Historic Tome School for Boys Turned Naval Training Center in Port Deposit


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November 27, 2013

The Tome school for Boys (which was later turned used as United States Naval Training Center) can be found off of Bainbridge Road, Port Deposit, Maryland.

The Tome School for Boys now lies abandoned but originally began in 1894 and was founded by Jacob Tome. It was a nonsectarian college preparatory school that went from kindergarten through 12th grade. Upon the death of Jacob Tome in 1898 more than 2 million dollars were left as an endowment (over $54 million today). For the next 4 years granite buildings were added to the campus designed in beaux arts style by architects William Boring and Edward Lippincott Tilton. The tree lined streets that converged at the Memorial Hall steps were created by Frederick Law Olmsted. Charles Wellford Leavitt was chosen to design the schools gardens. More than a dozen new buildings were added in total, all by 1902.

In 1942, the Tome School campus was taken by the Congressional order and approved for such action by Franklin Roosevelt. President Roosevelt also named the site in honor of Commodore William Bainbridge. The campus was then expanded after the government purchase from 330 acres to 1,132 acres with more than 500 new buildings added, transforming it into the United States Naval Training Center at Bainbridge. The Tome School for Boys relocated to its original buildings back towards main street.

The Naval Center continued operations until 1947 where it was then inactivated. The Naval Academy Prep School remained running on the campus and a maintenance staff remained to protect the remaining inactive buildings from weather damage. In 1951, the Korean War crisis caused the center to be re-opened, but many of the buildings had already fallen into severe disrepair. A defense contract to repair the buildings were set up and within months the renovation and road work were completed. In 1962, a Naval Nuclear Power School was opened on the grounds but it was later moved to the Naval Training Center in Florida.

Eventually the Tome School Board decided to move the Tome School for Boys to a new campus at North East, Maryland in 1970.

The Naval Academy Preparatory School moved to Rhode Island in 1974.

The Naval Center was finally deactivated in 1976 though some of the facilities were used by the Department of Labor as a Job Corps Training Center until 1990.

The base was closed officially in 1986 when the United States Congress authorized the Secretary of the Navy to dispose of the United State Naval Training Center at Bainbridge. Congress specified that before the sale of the land back to the State of Maryland and the people of Cecil County that the buildings that could not be used be torn down. This was done and of the 500 buildings that were created, way less than 50 remain.

In 1984 the buildings and property of the Bainbridge Tome School for Boys were put on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today 13 of the original buildings that were part of the Tome School for Boys still remain : The Memorial Hall, the Monroe Gymnasium, Director’s Residence, the Dining hall, the Chesapeake Inn Dormitory and the Harrison, Jackson, and Madison Dormitories and 6 Master’s Cottages.

Where is the old Jacob Tome School for Boys and the United States Naval Training Center on Bainbridge is located? You can find it with and around these coordinates. 39.603646,-76.10735.

All images used under the Creative Commons License Attribution Non Commercial No Derivs 2.0 Generic, images were under this license November 27th, 2013. These images by Studio Tempura. [Flickr/zero101].

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  • Jack

    No , was there 2 months ago

    • Wes Reiser

      Is there any kind of security or anything there? What’s the best place to park, or can you just drive in?

    • Tanner

      How did you get in?

  • skineepuppy

    place is still there and takes a bit of a walk to get to the top of the cliff to get to it

  • Bob bob bob

    Just went there. Some buildings have accessible doors and one of them has one hidden in the back. At one building you can climb up a sketchy ladder and look at the towers. Creepy ass place.

  • Bob bob bob

    Also park across the road by boats in a parking lot. Run across fast, avoid being seen by the neighbors to your left after you climb 30000 steep steps. Cut into the woods to the right and there is some sort of trail that leads to a gravel road follow that then you’ll see buildings.

    • molly

      but is it safe to do all of that?

      • sadness

        Not anymore. The building burned out late September. Its just a shall

  • molly

    is it hard to get in? is it safe?

    • Dena Vasiliou

      actually its not safe anymore. it burned down yesterday night :( I’m so sad

  • skineepuppy
  • No name

    Well as of Two days ago the main building has been set on fire and is nothing left but the cement, and walls. I have been there it it was beauitful, who ever did it mess up a really beautiful place.

  • WP

    I was stationed there in 1973. What a beautiful piece of history destroyed. Truly a shame……

    • Lynn Scott

      I was at the naval academy prep school from sep 1964 to May 65. I lived in Harrison house for couple of months the rest of the time at the Tome Inn. The inn was for guests and parents

  • Megan

    I go here quite often, and it is beautiful. You can’t go on weekends as the guards patrol a lot then, but during the week you can go. The hike to get in the ‘safe’ way is practically vertical, but it is 100% worth it. Just make sure not to get caught. I have some images of the building that burned down attached, and as you can see it is still beautiful. As always, be extremely careful. I’d recommend wearing a mask to avoid breathing in mold and dust particles, and thick pants if you are going to enter some of the buildings through broken windows.