Sculptural Display of Parsons Hall

Named for Louisa Parsons, first superintendent of the University of Maryland School of Nursing upon its founding in 1889

Parsons Hall opened as a nursing students’ residence at 618 W. Lombard St. in November 1922, six years after Parsons’ death and 30 years after her tenure at the then-University Hospital Training School for Nurses. Prior to this, students lived in a section of the old University Hospital and in row houses next to the hospital. 

Parsons Hall served as student housing for more than six decades, until the 1980s, and was later used as nursing faculty office space; the street address changed over time, as the building was expanded. The seven-story structure was demolished in 1998 for expansion of the University of Maryland Medical Center. To mark the occasion, the Alumni Association held a Wrecking Ball gala and sold bricks from Parsons Hall as memorabilia.  

To honor the memory of Parsons Hall and the many, many nursing students and faculty who occupied it, UMSON recently installed in the Baltimore courtyard a nearly 11-foot-tall, cast stone sculptural replica of the entrance as it appeared in 1922. It includes the stone medallion that later adorned the front exterior, functional lamps, and the original cast iron street numbers. Newly installed landscaping and a new bench accompany the replica.

The replica was unveiled at the All-Alumni Reunion event in September 2022, and a time capsule, to be opened in 25 years, has been sealed inside it. 

Memories from Parsons Hall

Name Years Lived in Parsons Hall Memories
Shirley Lentz (Maiden name: Bramble), BSN '56 1953-56

For fun we used to "bowl" in hallways with softballs or basketballs and coke bottles for pins. My 1st roommate had the same initials SJB (Shirley Joann Browett) but she got dismissed for smoking in the room and going out after hours on dates. The housemothers (Mrs. Gleason and Alexander locked doors at 10 p.m. and used to report every thing to the Dean. We would trick her with false reports.

I lived on 5th floor which was a long way if elevators weren't working. We invited a group of midshipmen and entertained them in the living room with sing-a-longs by the piano. Dates had to wait for you to come down because they couldn't leave the 1st floor. Small kitchen and laundry room in basement.

Catherine Ingle (Maiden name: Orrell), BSN '61 1957-61

Several of my classmates had ducks in the shower until discovered by the house mother. 
Another kept a pet rat in a dresser drawer for quite a while until it died. Living in Parsons Hall was convenient and reassuring. Since it was close to the hospital there was no time lost for traveling and more time for studying. So many memories and fun times. 

Rebecca Jones (Maiden name: Hays), BSN '64 1962-64

I loved living in Parsons Hall.  It was easy to get to know fellow students and we certainly had a ton in common. The elevator was always a challenge...would it work or I have to take the stairs? We would sunbathe on he top of Parsons Hall. We did so much together, it was like a sorority. I made wonderful friends there and still keep in touch. Jane Morris and I would laugh until we were sick at some of the stories we told each other. We had to sign in and out of the dorm.

I was so proud to wear my stripes and apron and cap. We had terrific teachers. I thought each rotation was great. I loved the old building with its creaks and smells. It felt very homey there.

I remember riding the trolley to Spring Grove during our psych rotation. There were locked wards and we had keys. I was scared the whole time I was there, thinking that one of the patients would stab me in the back with a fork.  

I am very grateful for that experience and hope the current nursing students are enjoying their time.

Claire Greenhouse (Maiden name: Payne), BSN '66 1964-66

There were many: watching deliveries from our 6th floor annex room; sharing THE hall phone and THE hall bathroom; having a house mother greet us; hanging out Lombard St. windows to watch the “comings” & “goings” at the Student Union directly across the street, but one of the most anticipated was SENIOR SING TIME!

At 10 p.m. and for the next 10 days seniors gathered in the stairwell on each floor for a loud and joyous Senior Sing Time.  We sang as loud as possible, ”For 4 long years we sweat and slaved, it nearly drove us to the grave; but now our graduations near - only (day countdown) more days!"

This was followed by applause, screaming and running back to our rooms!

So many wonderful memories that have kept us in strong friendships and enduring ties with our school.

Dee Williams (Maiden name: Ogilvie), BSN '66, MSN '74 1964-1966

I met my future husband, a dental student who lived across the street in the Student Union building. We used to kiss good night behind an umbrella at the front door of Parsons Hall in case one of the house mothers was looking, and yes, we had house mothers! I remember having to sign in and sign out in the evening, and I remember that we could walk all over downtown Baltimore with no worries about our safety...unbelievable in today's world, sadly.

Kathleen Edwards, BSN '67 1966-67 When I lived in Parsons Hall, I was an RN-to-BSN student, working full-time on my BSN. All of my classes were in Baltimore, so I moved there from Montgomery County, MD. My first room was on the 5th floor, and in the cul-de-sac of rooms were Carol, Nellie, Judy, and others earning their BSN. I remember the elevator with the clanking metal grate and the sound of voices saying "close the door," so the elevator could move to another floor. I remember the bathrooms with marble type floors. In the second semester, I shared a two bedroom suite with Dodie, who was engaged to a midshipman at Annapolis. My recall of the young women I met and lived near was that all were special and fine people. Two of them were in the WRAIN program, I think. Best to all, especially to Judy Jones Gundersen, BSN '67, who has become a life long friend.
Sharon Press (Maiden name: Gutterman), BSN '68 1966-68

As seniors, a group decided that the elevator was too dull. They painted psychedelic flowers all over it. I will send a picture if I can find it.

Mini-skirts came out when I lived in Parsons Hall.  We were not allowed to go through the lobby if our fingers did not reach the bottom of the skirt. 

Lynette Mooney (Maiden name: Dunn), BSN '68 1967-68 I lived in a room on the back side of Parsons Hall where our side window had a direct view into the patients' rooms. Making dinner on a hot plate and blowing a fuse shorting out the electricity on the floor. Only landline phone located outside of our room that was used by every student on our floor. 
Jill DeCesare (Maiden name: Ashworth), BSN '69 1967-69

My roommate Ceil and I were on the 7th floor across from the elevator. We were actually able to sleep and study even with the noise. I do remember the 1968 riots, confined to the dorm and leaning out to see downtown. I remember water balloons someone dropped, visiting the Campus Inn, walking all around Baltimore, and of course University Hospital. It seemed so huge back then. An important part of my life!

Judy Bankhead, BSN '70 1967-70 I loved living in Parsons Hall--go in the back door from the hospital and get my mail and sit in the lobby and read news from my family. I was an out of state student so much of my time was spent on weekends going to Lexington Market, the Library to do research for papers, and be able to explore the city. Parsons Hall is one of my most favorite memories of nursing school. The first part of living there was not so easy as they were building the Shock-Trauma building right outside of our window and pile drivers were going for days and weeks. We would all pile on Eileen's bed at 4 pm to watch Dark Shadows in our senior year.

When Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 students were sent home if possible, but I and others were still in Parsons Hall, and there was a sniper shooting into the building. We were all sent into the hospital to do jobs for nurses who were unable to get into work. It was a most scary time and the city was being burned down and looted. But there was a wonderful feeling of unity within the hospital.

I met some of the most excellent people during my time at Parsons Hall--other students, the staff at Parsons Hall and so many others. I at times think back on those days and remember Parsons Hall as a wonderful experience and I am grateful for having it there for me. I was sad when I read that it was no longer a domicile for nursing students and was really sad when I read that it was closed and to be torn down. But it will always be there in my memories, comforting and welcoming and available to me when I so needed it.  
Elizabeth (Ibby) Tanner (Maiden name: Wilhide), BSN '70, MSN '74 1968-70 I remember having to kneel on the floor in Parsons Hall in order to get our nursing student uniform length (dress) approved. The requirement was that our uniform be long enough to touch the floor! I also remember having to sign in and sign out at the front desk when leaving/coming back to Parsons Hall (and trying to sneak back into the dorm past Mrs. Proctor when a few minutes late for our 11:00 p.m. curfew). We also had our classes in Parsons Hall and walked to the hospital right next door for clinical. Those were very happy times and we became the best of friends with our dorm mates. My education and preparation to be a nurse was excellent!
Ruth Kriz (Maiden name: Holzapfel), BSN '71 1969-71 I lived on the 7th floor which was one of the first floors to have been remodeled. We had beds that tucked sideways into a frame that could hold books, etc. and new carpeting. We thought it quite modern! The elevator to get up there was probably original - it said Otis on the plaque and was definitely "an adventure in moving." One day I got on the elevator on the 7th floor by myself to go to the lobby and pushed the button. It often was a jerky ride but this time the elevator dropped 2 floors and a little more. When it stopped, I opened the retractable metal gate to discover that I had to climb up about 2 feet to get out on the 5th floor. Needless to say I walked the steps the rest of the school year - definitely a physical fitness program that wasn't part of the curriculum. I never took the elevator again except 1 load of belongings when moving out. That was without incident but still find myself choosing stairs rather than elevators when possible. Guess that incident started me on a lifetime of better physical fitness. 
Alice Demarais (Maiden name: O'Keefe), BSN '72 1970-72 The first year I lived upstairs and had 2 roommates. It was a bit tight, but we made it work. Then I moved to the first floor in the very back on the hospital alley. I could hear the trash truck come every morning and take out the large filled dumpster and return with an empty one. The huge bang I heard every morning when they dropped off the empty dumpster, made sure I was never asleep for long. One Saturday evening when there were very few folks in the dorm, I got caught in the elevator during a power outage. The elevator I am sure was older than Parsons Hall. There was a gate door you had to close before the elevator would work. I had to yell for help and since there weren't many people in the dorm that night, it took a bit of yelling to be heard. The fire department had to come to get me out. It wasn't a pleasant experience but it was an experience.  
Joyce Gordy (Maiden name: Wysong), BSN '73 1972-73

The memories and experiences of life in Parsons Hall are all wonderful and too numerous to spell out. I lived on the 7th floor in the "Annex". My memories were riding a questionable elevator that may or may not work every day. And climbing 7 flights of steps if it did not. Also, we had access to the roof from a hall window via the fire escape which allowed us to climb up for sunbathing. There was a small kitchen 1 floor down if we wanted to cook something instead of eating at the student union, or hospital cafeteria. I could go on and on, so I will just say that those two years provided some of my fondest memories of my college experience.

Girls Studying

Girls looks at books on a magazine

Girl Using a Doll as a Patient

Barbara Engh (Maiden name: Cartin), MSN '80, BSN '74 1972-74 It was May, 1974. We had just finished all classes & clinicals prior to graduation. We were partying on the fifth floor of Parsons Hall and several of us got the idea to string our nursing student uniforms (they were white dresses then) on a long rope and hang them out of the front hall window. It was myself (Barbie Cartin), Sherry Graham, Eileen Mathias, Karen Walsh, and my roommate Ginny Carlson. Sherry Graham's brother, Chuck Graham, lived on the second floor of the Student Union across Lombard St., so we ran across Lombard St. with the rope and threw it up to Chuck, who tied it to his window. The picture ran in the Baltimore Sun the next day, and the tradition of stringing the nursing student uniforms was born. I think this picture is in the Living History Museum archives somewhere. Apologies to anyone else that was with us in Parsons Hall that day whose name I cannot remember!
Nadine Jacobs (Maiden name: Zerwitz), BSN '74 1972-74

I recently started volunteering at the Living History Museum in the University of Maryland School of Nursing. While cataloging "old" Nursing School Catalogs, I was shocked to see a picture of a Parsons Hall room in the 1920s that looked just like I remember my room in 1972! A small, long room with the bathroom between 2 rooms. Yes, Parsons Hall served as a dorm for many decades.

One of my memories was that the Class of 1974 started the tradition of hanging Student Uniforms across Lombard Street. Prior to that year, uniforms were simply hung out of windows. My graduating class managed to string them all the way across the street, creating quite a buzz below. Below are 2 pictures from the 2 Baltimore newspapers, The Baltimore Sun and The News American, in May 1974 documenting the "Inner City Wash Line"!

News Clipping of Uniforms strung across Lombard street

News Clipping of Uniforms strung across Lombard street

Donna Gates, BSN '74 1973-74 My first year I lived on the bottom floor. The first 6 floors were the original and they later added the 7th floor.  One elevator went from the basement to 6 and the other from 1-7.  They never stopped even with the floor. You either had to climb out or jump down. The original floors had radiator heat that could not be controlled. So we often had the windows open when it was 20 degrees outside. We were not supposed to have refrigerators or other electrical items that used a lot of power. A lot of people did however. Most nights the power would go out around 8 pm. We would sit out in the hallway with flashlights studying. Why we did not stay in our rooms is beyond me. But there we were sitting against the wall in the hallway studying. My last year I had a room on the top floor which had air conditioning. Luxury living then!
Polly Watkins (Maiden name: Small), MSN '94, BSN '77 1974-75 I lived on the 5th floor at the end of the hall and shared a bathroom with the other room at end of the hall.  Moving day was a very hot day in August and the elevator was broken. My boyfriend, now husband of 43 years, carried my small refrigerator all the way up! I knew then he was a keeper. I had some many great memories of those years. 
Nancy Donovan, BSN '76 1974-76

Parsons Hall was more than a dormitory, a place to sleep. It was a gathering place for professional students being educated in their field of study as well as learning about life, friendships, romance, and how late one could stay up finishing a term paper/care plan if you just had enough coffee. 

The years I resided at Parsons Hall, women from the Pharmacy and Physical Therapy Schools also roomed there. My senior year roommate was a P. T. student who became a good friend. 
There was one red phone on the wall of the hallway for use by the occupants of that floor. 
No privacy and no answering machine. Calls were answered by whom ever was around and hopefully, you got your messages.

We used to hang out the 3rd floor window and sing Eagles songs to the people passing by below. Dancing in the hallway, conversing in the hallway, gathering with other couples in the hallway before the Senior Formal.

The elevator was old and creaky.  I think I took the steps most of the time. 

There was a formal living room on the first floor that was always quiet.  I liked to go there to study or have time to myself.

Parsons Hall… if the walls could talk! 

Girls playing cards in Parsons Hall

Girls on the phone in Parsons Hall

Girls hanging out a window in Parsons Hall

Maureen Maskarinec (Maiden name: Bria), BSN '77 1975-77

I had a great time living in Parsons Hall . The double room was big; lots of light. My first roommate was from Maryland and always brought back homemade goodies to share when she went home, which was usually every weekend. My next roommate was also from Maryland. She went home weekends too. I was from out-of-state and formed friendships with five women who I am still friends with today. Four nursing grads and one physical therapy grad. We try to get together every few years and share our memories of living on campus and Parsons Hall - going to the Student Union, The Campus Inn, and the restaurant on the corner a block away, when we wanted a change from dining hall food. We shared many late night study halls and helped each other prepare for clinics and exams. Lots of laughs too. A great time.

Mary Stewart, BSN '81 1979-81

Well the cockroaches of course and girls screaming when one would crawl into their hair from their desk. Beds were next to desks. But the most interesting story was the pigeon that built a nest out of construction nails on the fire escape outside our 7th floor window. The pigeon even laid eggs but of course they cracked right away as they were on a bed of nails. I even contacted a nature society to let them know about this. Oh and the helicopter landing on the parking garage at all hours en-route to Shock Trauma next door. It would wake us up in the middle of the night. Those are the highlights. 

Susan Martin (Maiden name: Winzer), MSN '87, BSN '82 1980-82

I lived on the 5th floor my junior year. I remember it being very noisy (cars, trucks, ambulances, fire, police vehicles and the shock trauma helicopters landing on the Redwood Street Garage roof). It was also very hot (only the 7th floor had air conditioning). My senior year, I lived with Bonnie Elliott on the 6th floor. We took turns making dinner on hot plates in our rooms for 6 of us (Bonnie Swanson, Brenda Ecker, Carol Prouty & Connie Reinhold). The 6 of us celebrated our graduation with a trip to Bermuda! At the end of junior year, we were promoted to seniors with a ceremony called "Fluting" where we all wore coffee filters on our heads to simulate our Senior nursing caps.

The girls on the 5th floor gave great parties on the weekend, complete with medical, pharmacy, physical therapy & law students! I loved "stringing" our uniforms across Lombard Street to the Student Union when we finished our Senior Year! What a great celebration!

Michaele Nesbitt-Johnson (Maiden name: Nesbitt), DNP '17, BSN '83 1981-83

The events before graduation, stringing (if I can remember the formal name), toilet paper over the trees, and the confetti everywhere was one of the most fun and memorable moments.

Uniforms strung over Lombard Street in 1983

Students collecting Toys for Tots

Students celebrating graduation on Lombard Street


Karen Dilello (Maiden name: Todd), BSN '82 1981-82

Fond memories on the 5th floor. Trained and ran my first 10K Race. Pizza parties in the hall to meet all the nursing students. Spring Formal at the Fountaine Bleue. Daytona Beach Bus trip. Spending weekends with my closest friends.

five students posing

Couple dressed up

View a timelapse of the sculptural replica of Parsons Hall being built in the courtyard.

View more photos of Parsons Hall.