Baltimore County Now
Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning
While it is hard to believe today, educational opportunities for young women were not readily available during the mid-19th century in the United States. In Baltimore County, we are fortunate to have several historic schools that were founded for the primary purpose of educating young women. These institutions were made possible by the shared vision of women and religious organizations who provided the resources necessary for their establishment. While their historic campuses feature a variety of 19th century architectural styles, together they tell a story of those who dedicated their lives to the mission of educating young women. In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s learn about some of these historically significant schools.
Just outside of historic Reisterstown is the former Hannah More Academy campus which was established in 1832. Built on land donated by Mrs. Ann Neilson, the former girls’ Episcopal boarding and day school provided education to young women until it merged with Saint Timothy’s School in Greenspring Valley in 1974. While the original school buildings were lost to fire in 1857, the school was rebuilt and today houses various nonprofit offices and recreational space. Located on the campus is the Gothic Revival board and batten Saint Michael’s Chapel, a National Register property and Baltimore County Landmark.
The Mount de Sales Academy has been educating young women within the walls of its historic campus in Catonsville since 1852. Organized by the Sisters of the Visitation, this was the first Catholic institution in Baltimore County to provide educational opportunities to young women of all religions and backgrounds. The school is also significant as the oldest educational facility in the County still actively in use for its original purpose. The 19th century collection of campus buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places and the Baltimore County Landmarks List.
Oldfields School is situated in the former village of Glencoe that grew with the arrival of the railroad in 1838. Located near the Gunpowder River, Oldfields School was founded by Mrs. Anna Austen McCulloch in 1867. The school began in her mid-19th century double tenant house, now a Baltimore County Landmark, and referred to on campus as the “Old House”. Unlike many early schools for young women, Oldfields was not affiliated with any particular denomination and was known for its progressive curriculum which featured subjects and activities not easily found in other institutions of the time.
To learn more about the history of women’s education along with these historic schools:
Fronda Cohen, Baltimore County Office of Communications
When we moved to Sudbrook Park in 1988, we had never heard the word “curvilinear.” After many walks through this historic community in Pikesville, we soon learned about the pleasures of curving, winding roads and the history of a neighborhood that in 1889 became an experiment in suburban community design.
Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., the father of landscape architecture in America, is perhaps best known as co-designer of New York City’s Central Park. His “experiment” in Baltimore County was based on the idea that a suburban village would be an attractive alternative to the densely populated city.
Olmsted designed Sudbrook with a distinct entranceway, a narrow bridge that led to open green spaces for community gatherings, spacious lots for Victorian cottages, and smaller lots for more affordable homes. The setting was green, with mature trees lining winding roads that encouraged walking, enjoying nature, and meeting neighbors along the way.
Olmsted’s gateway bridge at the entrance to Sudbrook Park still spans the rail line, although 125 years later it is the Metro that shares the tracks with the railroad that once took residents downtown to work. On any given day, you’ll find walkers, runners, and bicyclists exploring the curvilinear roads. Victorian homes still grace streets lined with centuries-old oaks. Neat brick colonials built during World War II anchor the smaller lots. Neighbors, kids and dogs in tow, enjoy the annual July 4 and Halloween parades that end with celebrations at the Sudbrook community park.
Sudbrook Park remains a community where design, nature and good neighbors still enjoy what Frederick Law Olmsted called a “respite for the spirit.”
Happy 125th birthday, Sudbrook.
Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning
Did you know that several of the restaurants participating in Baltimore County’s Summer Restaurant Week are also serving up a helping of Baltimore area history? From Reisterstown’s historic Main Street to the country splendor of My Lady’s Manor, these historic restaurants provide a unique dining experience to go along with their special summer menus:
Located within the National Register Historic District of Reisterstown, The Grill at the Harryman House has been a longtime favorite. Situated among the many historic structures that line Main Street, The Grill at the Harryman House is one of the oldest structures in Reisterstown. Built by Samuel Harryman ca. 1800 on land originally owned by John Reister, the Harryman family lived and worked on the property while operating a saddlery, harness shop, and grocery. The building’s many historic details provide a cozy and inviting setting to all that visit.
The scenic countryside of My Lady’s Manor provides a beautiful setting for visitors traveling to the historic Manor Tavern. Now a designated National Register Historic District, My Lady’s Manor was established in 1713 by the third Lord Baltimore as a gift for his bride. The district is home to many historic sites and farms that represent multiple centuries of Baltimore County history. The Manor Tavern, which is located at the prominent crossroads of Monkton Road and Old York Road, had humble beginnings as a stable and has survived to become a well known dining and special event destination.
The Milton Inn - 14833 York Rd, Sparks, MD
Inside this restored stone building, you will find one of Baltimore County’s most unique landmarks. Originally known as the Milton Academy, boys, and later girls, traveled from all over the United States to attend this prestigious school. First appearing on the Baltimore County Tax List in 1823, the building started as a tavern and became a well known boy’s boarding school operated by John Emerson Lamb. One of its most well known former students is John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. After serving as a school for many years, the building housed several businesses until it finally became a restaurant in 1946.
The Oregon Grille- 1201 Shawan Rd, Cockeysville, MD
Once home to the Oregon Furnace Store, this well known Baltimore County restaurant and landmark sits at the edge of the former Oregon Iron Furnace and company town that is now Oregon Ridge Park. After the furnace operation ended at the close of the 19th century, Thomas Kurtz, the last Oregon Ore foreman, purchased the building and continued to operate a store and post office out of the location. A careful restoration in the 1980s preserved the historic stone and frame building while retaining the wonderful historic architectural details which provide a lovely setting for a special meal.