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Baltimore County Now

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photo of a portion of the muralFronda Cohen, Director, Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences

How do you honor a war 200 years after it ended?  Our buildings, museums and parks are filled with monuments, historic markers and remembrances of battles won and battles valiantly fought and lost.  What ties these commemorations together is a desire to honor our soldiers and the families and communities that supported their service.

How do you create a remembrance that speaks to history and also engages people today?

The Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences took on the challenge of finding a way to use public art to honor Baltimore County’s role in the War of 1812.  They saw the battlefield at North Point as the centerpiece.  Here, a crucial military engagement stalled British land forces so American troops could fortify Ft. McHenry and save Baltimore from capture.

Battle Acre Park on North Point Road in Dundalk is an earlier commemoration of that important battle. Today, overlooking a newly renovated park, is new public art mural that captures not only the history and leaders of the battle, but the fighting spirit of its citizen soldiers and the pride residents took in their service. 

photo showing entire mural

The “Home of the Brave” mural features the battle engagement, with American troops holding formation, blocking British troops from advancing.  This panel is flanked by portraits of the battle’s military leaders, U.S. General John Stricker and British General Robert Ross.  Another panel highlights the historic Todd’s Inheritance homestead, showing rural life in eastern Baltimore County during the early 1800s.  A final scene shows a celebration ceremony held in 1839, just 25 years after the Battle of North Point was waged on the site.

After the fireworks are over, the “Home of the Brave” mural will remain to remind us of the bravery and commitment of America’s citizen soldiers.  Visit Baltimore County’s Battle Acre Park and remember a legacy of service that lives on today.  

The “Home of the Brave” mural was designed and painted by artist Marshall Adams and is a project of the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation.  Funding was provided through grants from The Citizens of Baltimore County and the Maryland State Arts Council.


photo of Adopt-A-Road signKristi Pilarski, Adopt-A-Road Coordinator, Bureau of Highways

Cigarette butts, soda cans and other trash you may see along the road is not just unsightly, but it can get washed down into storm drains during a heavy rain, wash into our waterways and pollute recreational water areas, drinking water supplies, and eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. This is why Adopt-A-Road is one of our solutions for the environment and your community.

You can see our green and white Adopt-A-Road signs all around Baltimore County, showing community support for a Clean, Green Baltimore County. It is easy to join the Adopt-A-Road program. A group makes a commitment to pick up roadside litter just four times per year for at least two years.

We receive support from the community from all types of adopters. Adopters include civic and non-profit organizations, school groups, commercial and private enterprises, families and individuals. We have adopters of all ages, the youngest being 12 years old. I am always looking for new adopters, individuals or groups, to help grow the Adopt-A-Road program.

This program is a great service project for all sorts of groups, and especially helpful for high school students who need community service hours to graduate. It’s a nice way for families to come together to show support for their neighborhood. One of our newest groups, a motorcycle club, even made participation in Adopt-A-Road a prerequisite to joining their club.

Our Adopt-A-Road program started twenty years ago and had much success in the past. I am hoping to continue to make it successful and grow the program, so we can help keep Baltimore County’s roads clean.

I try to keep everything simple for the adopter. Once the application is approved, I give the safety training to the coordinator or to the entire group. At that time, I supply the group with all the supplies needed for the cleanups. We supply the trash bags, pickers, gloves, signs and the safety vests. Each group receives an Adopt-A-Road sign at their adopted road location and we will collect the trash bags after each clean up.

If you would be interested in the Adopt-A-Road program, I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at kepilarski@baltimorecountymd.gov or 410-887-3560.


photo of a Victorian home in Sudbrook ParkFronda 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.


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