Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: baltimore county landmarks

By Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner, Baltimore County Department of Planning

The modern public school system in Baltimore County evolved over the course of several centuries into the system we enjoy today. While many schools were established through private efforts, after the American Revolution a national belief in the importance of accessible education led to a legislatively mandated educational program.  

Changes in transportation, industrialization, community planning and the education profession collectively impacted how school buildings were designed and where they were located. The simple one and two room schoolhouses of the 19th century would eventually be closed and consolidated into large classically designed buildings that were often replaced by the large sprawling school complexes of the suburban landscape.

Featured here are some of the surviving examples of historic school buildings that are located within County Historic Districts or are Baltimore County Landmarks.

Overlea Home School 108 Delrey Avenue, Catonsville - Built ca. 1853, it was adapted by Rev. Ebeling to serve as a boarding school for young men.

Among the numerous private academies, one of the most architecturally distinctive examples is the former Overlea Home School in Catonsville. During the Civil War, the Rev. George W. Ebeling, pastor of the Old Salem Lutheran Church in Catonsville, conducted a boy's school in his fortress-like home under the name Overlea Home School.  It was open from 1861 to 1895. After its use as a school ended, it became a private residence.

In addition to private academies, there are several that represent the County’s 19th century public school system and next generation of consolidated schools. Located within the County Historic District of Glyndon, the former brick Glyndon School building with its prominent belfry was constructed ca. 1887 by local builder Mr. John T. Marshall, Jr. for the Baltimore County School Board. It closed in 1930 as part of efforts to consolidate small one and two room schools. 

Glyndon School 4627 Butler Road, Glyndon – Constructed ca. 1887, the former school building was remodeled in 1932 by architect G. Walter Tovel to serve as the new home for the Women’s Club of Glyndon.



Efforts to institute educational opportunities for African American children in Baltimore County began after the Civil War. Many schools were aided by religious groups.  In northwest Baltimore County, the Piney Grove School survives as an example of this effort. Located on the same property as the Piney Grove United Methodist Church, the former school building was built ca. 1870 and incorporated into the County’s school system to be used exclusively for the education of African American children.

Piney Grove School 4929 Piney Grove Road – Constructed ca. 1870, the building was incorporated into the County’s school system for the education of African American children. With the assistance of the Maryland State African American Heritage Preservation Program, an anticipated rehabilitation of the school will restore its 19th century architectural details.

Within the County Historic District of Relay, two former schools survive, each representing a different era of educational history. The first Relay School was built ca. 1863 in a style typical of the schools of that era. Now used as a private residence, it was sold by Baltimore County in 1923 as part of the County’s consolidation efforts.  

Relay School (1863) 1548 South Rolling Road – Constructed ca. 1863 to serve the community before it was replaced as part of consolidation efforts.

Unlike some communities who had to travel much further to their new school, Relay’s replacement remained within their neighborhood. Constructed ca. 1921, the larger brick school continued to educate Baltimore County’s children until 1977.  

Relay School (1921) 1620 South Rolling Road – Constructed ca. 1921 as a replacement for the 19th century school, it educated Baltimore County’s children until 1977.  It currently serves as the home of the Relay Children’s Center.

While these buildings no longer serve their original educational purpose, each one tells a story about its community and reflects a particular era of Baltimore County educational history.

May is Preservation Month. Visit the Historical Society of Baltimore County museum and library to learn more about Baltimore County's heritage and a special program on the history of Baltimore County Public Schools.  The Historical Society of Baltimore County has partnered with The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools for a program on May 7, 2017.  Mr. E. Farrell Maddox, author of the book Building the Future, will be joining several speakers, including County School Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance. 

Revised September 11, 2017