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Keyword: baltimore county place names

By Teri Rising, Baltimore County Department of Planning 

Many well-known place names have unusual origins that are often as unique as the places they represent. Place names come from early settlers and businesses, literature, mythology, and land patents. Early settlers and their businesses often led to their name and the town being put on the map, literally.  

Timonium and the Bard

Timonium originates from an 18th century mansion that was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a fairground expansion. Timonium is derived from the central character of “Timon of Athens,” a play attributed in part to William Shakespeare, and signifies a place of sorrows or solitude.  

Oella: An Incan goddess spins cotton

The textile mill community known as Oella was named after the patent given to the accumulated lands of the Union Manufacturing Co. in 1811. Oella is a spelling variation of Mama Ocllo, a goddess from Inca and Peruvian mythology. The legend of Mama Ocllo and Manco Capac is a traditional story that tells how the Incan culture developed. Mama Ocllo or Mama Oella was said to have taught Incan women domestic arts skills, including how to spin thread. A resurvey document for the tract stated that the name came from "Oella, in honor of the first woman to apply herself to the spinning of cotton on the continent of North America."

Bellona, Sister of Mars

Bellona Avenue takes its name from the Bellona Powder Mill, which was established around 1801. The mill was drowned by Lake Roland in 1861. Bellona was a Roman goddess of war and sister to Mars.

You own it, you name it

There are place names taken from 18th and 19th century land records and their owners. Bowley’s Quarters was named after Daniel Bowley who had a farm in that location in the 1750s and a residence in Baltimore City.  The quarters name was given to an additional farm owned by a planter who lived elsewhere.   

The Caves Valley area was named for the land tract "Coale's Caves" that was surveyed for John Coale in 1705.

The name of White Marsh was used in a 1714 land survey and also was the name of a Ridgely family estate and furnace established by the Nottingham Company around 1753. 

 

Regardless of their origin stories, each one of these names represents a special place in Baltimore County’s past and present.  

To learn more about other Baltimore County names and places, check out the Baltimore County Department of Planning and the Baltimore County Public Library

Photo Sources: Taylor, Robert. Map of the city and county of Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore, 1857, Library of Congress; Ancestry.com. U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918; Baltimore County Public Library. 


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017