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A liberal arts college unaffiliated with any religion, St. John’s College was first founded in 1696 as King William’s School, a preparatory school. Subsequently chartered as St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland in 1784, four of its founders signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. A National Historic Landmark, St. John’s beautiful campus of 36 acres lies within the heart of the historic capital of Maryland.

The third oldest college in the United States, St. John’s most notable alumnus is Francis Scott Key, who observed the British shelling of Fort McHenry in Baltimore and penned The Star-Spangled Banner to commemorate America’s victory. The school is renowned for its distinctive curriculum revolving around the study and discussion of the Great Books of Western Civilization known as the New Program, which began in 1937.

Places to Visit

Visitors typically comment on the beauty of the campus and how pleasant their walk was on the grounds. TripAdvisor reviews averaged 4.5 out of 5 stars. Several enjoyed their stops at the school’s small bookstore. Below are several other notable St. John’s landmarks. For more information: St. John’s College

  • McDowell Hall – Open to the public, the stately building was beautifully restored after a disastrous 1909 fire. Formerly the governor’s mansion, McDowell began construction in 1742, which was not completed until 1789. It is the campus’ third oldest building.
  • French Monument – Commemorating unknown French soldiers buried on the edge of the playing fields of St. John’s College who died assisting the American struggle for independence, the monument was erected in 1911 with a remarkable bronze sculpture.
  • Francis Scott Key Auditorium – Located within Mellon Hall, which was constructed in 1958 by award-winning architect Richard Neutra, the auditorium is where the student theater troupe King Williams Players performs for free.
  • Hodson Boathouse – Its cornerstone was laid in 1934, and the upper level was renovated in 1989. Providing a scenic view of College Creek, it is the home of the college’s fantastic boating program.
  • Edgar T. Higgins Dining Hall – Featuring neo-classical architecture and Georgian details, it is located inside Randall Hall.
  • Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery – Drawing over 10,000 visitors annually to its exhibitions and programs, most Mitchell Gallery events are free and open to the public.

An Inn Near the College

St. John’s College is only about half a mile away from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your room at our toll free number 877-330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.

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