The school will be so situated as to afford the children ample grounds for exercise, in surroundings attractive and healthful and a special attempt will be made to conserve the health and strength of the children in a way that will be to their lasting benefit.
Invitation to a meeting to plan the creation of The Park School, March 18, 1912
In a mansion facing Druid Hill Park, The Park School of Baltimore opened as one of the first in the country to have a playground with swings, seesaws, and jungle gyms. Its 104 students took full advantage of the expansive lawn just across Swann Drive for recreation and sport. The 1913 school catalogue offered some specifics: “Athletics will be carefully supervised; stress will be laid on the athletics from which all the pupils benefit, rather than on the overdevelopment of a few…. This policy will result in school teams in the various sports.” [The Park School, A Country School in the City, May 1913]
A carriage house, built next to the mansion in 1876, served as the gym. M. Shakman Katz, Class of 1917, remembered, “The walls of the gym were straight up for about two feet, then they slanted. The boys who played basketball got quite adept at using the wall when they jumped to make a shot.” The gym also housed boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, climbing bars and other equipment, and a thick climbing rope hung from the ceiling.
Druid Hill Park, with its lawns and trees, its playgrounds, base-ball diamonds and tennis courts, is at the school door, and together with the gymnasium and grounds of the school, gives every facility for safe and healthful play.
The Park School, A Country School in the City, May 1913
In those earliest years, boys’ basketball was the only interscholastic sport. A rare victory in 1914 was cause for school-wide celebration. Beatrice Kraus Stern, Class of 1917, recalled, "When we beat Friends in basketball, we had a half-day holiday.”
That same year, George G. Grim arrived as the manual training and physical education teacher. On the occasion of Park’s 25th anniversary, he reminisced: “Athletics occupied a very important part of each school day. Every afternoon, on a lot about forty-feet wide and one-hundred feet deep, a howling mob of boys gathered for baseball. A gully ran through the field. As a matter of fact, it ran directly between home plate and first base. To arrive safe at first base after a wild dash down the near side of the gully and a wilder scramble up the far side provided a thrill that is given to only a few to experience.”
First Headmaster Eugene Randolph Smith coached boys’ tennis on the Druid Hill Park courts and Dr. Hans Froelicher, President of the Board of Trustees, coached the boys’ swimming team at the YMCA pool. By 1916, Park girls were competing with city teams in basketball, tennis, and track.