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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: history

pen and ink drawing of Milton InnTeri 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: 

The Grill at the Harryman House  - 340 Main St, Reisterstown, MD

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 Manor Tavern- 15819 Old York Rd, Monkton, MD

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.


historic image of seaplaneDebi Wynn, Director of Education
Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum

An airplane flying overhead usually goes without notice these days.  The “wow” factor of man in flight was far different decades ago. Baltimore County’s aviation and space history starts in 1910, and includes appearances by Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn L. Martin, and astronaut Tom Jones.

Decades ago, airfields dotted the Baltimore County countryside with runways for recreational use. Air shows provided inspiration for younger attendees and awe for older folks. Traveling on a passenger plane in the 1950s and 60s was a major event, with folks dressing up to board their flight, even as Americans wondered which country would win the “space race.” 

Seeing his first airplane in 1910

One of Baltimore County’s earliest aviation ventures was in a Halethorpe field in 1910, a time when most folks had never seen an airplane fly. Here, the Aero Club of Maryland held one of the first international air competitions in the United States, with $50,000 in prize money attracting pilots from all over the world for competitions of speed, altitude, endurance, bomb dropping, and cross country.  Thirteen year old Baltimorean Henry Rinn attended. Rinn looked back years later to share his recollections. “It was really overwhelming to me. I can’t quite explain my reaction to seeing these planes go down the runway and up into the air.” One of the flights with pilot Hubert Latham took off from Halethorpe field and flew across the city.

Earhart and Lindbergh touch down in Dundalk

Famed pilots Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh landed at Dundalk Flying Field, Baltimore’s first major airfield. In the 1920’s, Dundalk Flying Field was the site of an air show sponsored by the American Flying Club. The site was renamed Logan Field to honor Pilot Lt. Patrick Logan, who suffered fatal injuries during a flight at the air show. The Maryland National Guard’s first flying unit was stationed at Logan, air mail service for Baltimore began at the field, and Baltimore’s first scheduled passenger flights took off here in 1930.

The airfield that launched a NASA career

While the Halethorpe, Woodlawn, Pikesville, Dundalk and Perry Hall air fields are long forgotten landings and take offs, one 20th century small airfield remains.  In 1943, what is now called Essex Skypark was built in Back River, serving at one time as the only U.S. civilian base for seaplanes.

photo of Astronaut Tom JonesNow-retired astronaut and Baltimore County native Tom Jones took his first flight from Essex Skypark, launching a career that took him on four space shuttle missions, including three spacewalks. 

Thanks to a 99-year lease with Baltimore County, the Essex Skypark Association continues operation and management of the general aviation airport, offering special events that introduce new generations to flying. 

More local airfield snapshots

Perry Hall/White Marsh residents may not realize that land once used for flying is now housing and commercial development.  Quinn Airport, built in the 1960s was a 60 acre general aviation airport on Forge Hill Road that operated as Baltimore Airpark until 2001.

In 1925, Bay Shore Park was the location for the Schneider Trophy Race, an international hydroplane contest won by U.S. Army Lt. James H. Doolittle.

In Woodlawn, Oliver Rutherford offered airplane rides and pilot training from his Rutherford Field starting in 1929. The site continued as a general aviation airfield until 1965. Pikesville was the location of Service Field, a 46 acre commercial airport from 1931 to 1935. 

Baltimore Municipal Airport’s first flights in 1938 were from a seaplane ramp, where Martin and Boeing Clippers offered flights to and from Europe and Bermuda. As Harbor Field, the airport shared city and county boundaries and was served by three airlines. With the opening of Friendship Airport in the 1950s, Harbor Field lost its commercial airline traffic, but continued operation as a general aviation airport and Air Guard base until 1960.

Onward and upward

From the 1910 air show to today, over 110 years of flying feats throughout Baltimore County have amazed young and old, from Henry Rimm’s memories of seeing his first airplane to future-astronaut Tom Jones’s first flight at Essex Skypark to young visitors being mesmerized as they get into a pilot’s seat on Open Cockpit Day at the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.

The thrill of flight can inspire the next generation of Baltimore County pilots and the next inventive minds who, like Glenn L. Martin, will design the future of aviation. With the tools and resources available to today’s pilots and engineers, this next century should unveil incredibly exciting adventures in flight.

The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum shares Martin and Maryland aviation stories with visitors of all ages.  The museum is located at Martin State Airport, with historic aircraft on view nearby at Strawberry Point. 

(References: Maryland Aloft, Essex Skypark Association, Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum)


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