Established in 1635, Boston Latin was the first public school in the colonial nation. Located in various buildings on School Street in the colonial period, Boston Latin shared two facilities with the Boston English High School in the nineteenth century. A prolific designer of schools, armories, and other public buildings, James McLaughlin established the institutional importance of Boston Latin in the Longwood neighborhood with a monumental red brick Georgian Revival design.
Once an all-male bastion, its curriculum is still embedded in the humanities and the inscribed Latin plaques extol the virtues of a liberal arts education. Memorials for alumni on the building, a red brick Colonial Revival design with limestone trim, and on its more recent sympathetic additions bear witness to this commitment. Citations in Latin abound, from Virgil, Juvenal, Horace, Proverbs and Cicero—for example, a Cicero quotation declares, “These studies [that is, literature] nourish youth, entertain old age, embellish our prosperity, furnish a refuge and solace in adversity.” Most memorable, however, remains the plaque inscribed on School Street in the form of the children's game of hopscotch traced on the sidewalk, commemorating the founding of Boston Latin.