As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a native Marylander. I grew up about ten miles from this sign.
But I have a confession to make.
The first time I truly noticed the “s” in Johns, I thought it was a typo.
But then I noticed it’s spelled like that everywhere: street signs, athletic wear, university buildings. That’s a pretty wide-spread typo.
It turns out, “Johns” is a family name. Our Johns was named after his grandfather, the first Johns Hopkins, who in turn was named for his mother, Margaret Johns.
So, there you have it, the mystery of the “s” solved. It is NOT a typo.
Want to know more about Johns Hopkins? There are great resources housed in the archives of JHU's Sheridan Libraries. You can start with this biographical sketch and then read “Mr. Johns Hopkins,” a longer article written by Kathryn Jacobs on the 100th anniversary of his death.