McComas Institute

McComas Institute
1913-15 Singer Road
Joppa, MD

The McComas Institute, also known as the Mountain School, named for local abolitionist and tobacco merchant George McComas, retains the classic features of the original Freedmen’s Bureau schoolhouses — a simple one-story wood-frame structure with a bell-cot over the north gable above the front door where the school bell rang to call the students to class. The schoolhouse also retains the wooden board ceiling and plasterboard walls with blackboards where teachers taught the students for decades-long after the county school system built new schools for white students. The National Register of Historic Places listed the McComas Institute on its register in 1980. With the help of community members, Hosanna Community House, Inc. acquired the McComas Institute in 2016 to continue to preserve the historic schoolhouse.

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Mt. Zion Church

The Mt. Zion Methodist Church building sits adjacent to McComas Institute

In 1867, the founders of Mt. Zion Methodist Church, including Rev. Peter Bishop partnered with Harford County abolitionist, George March McComas, and the United States Freedmen’s Bureau founding and constructing McComas Institute, also known as Mountain School. McComas Institute was built two years following the establishment of the U.S. Freedmen’s Bureau, designed to provide aid to formerly enslaved blacks and poor whites in the South in the wake of the U.S. Civil War. 

In 2017, Hosanna Community House, Inc. purchased the Mt. Zion building to save it from a tax sale and to ensure that its vital role in the development of McComas Institute is preserved.