Codman Square, 1955 - 1981

Talbot Avenue Codman Square, Dorchester


The next home of GLS, the Dorchester High School building in Codman Square, was originally completed in 1901and had been in use for over five decades. The Codman Square building sat on a tight triangle of land, the apex extending out to the middle of the square at Washington Street; one triangle side being Talbot Avenue and the other, Centre Street. The land was purchased in 1896, but construction did not start for two years due to the difficult shape of the 60,000 square foot site. The first proposed school building was rejected. The approved design was by Hartwell, Richardson & Driver was Renaissance revival in style. The building’s exterior was a distinctive yellow brick called buff brick, accented by limestone lintels and trim. On each of four floors, a wide main corridor ran the length of the building parallel to Talbot Avenue. Two broad sets of ornamental stairs extended from the basement to the fourth floor.

In the basement was a lunch room, 900 lockers and to the rear of the building, a gym. Over the gym on the second floor level was the assembly hall which could seat 1,000. At the front there was a stage and two anti-rooms and at the rear a large balcony. Arched timbers were exposed in the ceiling.


Source: The City of Boston Archives Boston Public Schools Photograph Collection 1901.

View of assembly hall on left and stairs on right.

On the first floor were the headmaster’s office, reception office, and several classrooms. The second floor held the library. Both the second and third floor had many classrooms as well as fully equipped laboratories. The fourth floor had two art rooms. There were 58 classrooms total.

Codman Square was closed in 1981 and the school was transferred to Ipswich Street, a former warehouse for the US Postal Service. The Codman Square school sat vacant for a few years. Then in 1986, most of the classrooms in the building were converted into housing by private developer Robert Walsh. The Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation completed renovation of the historic Girls’ Latin Academy building in April, 2008. In addition to renovating (and financially re-structuring) the existing 58 housing units, thirty-five new affordable rental units were added in the vacant portions of the school building the gym and the auditorium. This completed the adaptive re-use of this Codman Square landmark. The former Girls’ Latin School and first home of Boston Latin Academy remains one of the three historic buildings in the Codman Square Historic District.

Codman Square was the fourth home of the school. The pictures below are the school after renovation in 1986.


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