Copyright (C) 2015 Preservation Howard County



Howard County's Top Ten Endangered Sites, 2002

Melvin Howard Log Cabin


Also known as the "Marvin Howard Log Building," this log structure was built in the 1800's. It is situated very close to the edge of Dorsey Mill Road. In addition to being one of the few remaining log structures in Howard County, the 1977 Historic Sites survey notes that it was historically significant due to its association with an early machine shop noted at this location on the 1860 Martennet map. The current owners are interested in receiving help and advice about restoring this rapidly deteriorating building.

Original St. Louis Church


The beginnings of this small church go back to the chapel at Doughoregan Manor, a home of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1855, Howard County had just been formed from Anne Arundel County and the Catholic community in the Clarksville area had grown large enough to build its own church.


The land for the "new" church was donated in 1855 by John O'Donnell. The church building was completed and dedicated in 1856. By 1889, the congregation outgrew this small church and a larger church was built and dedicated on Old Columbia Pike.


The old church, still owned and maintained by the St. Louis Parish, has fallen on hard times. The interior is gutted, the roof is in need of replacement and much of the woodwork, including window frame and door frames, is rotted.

A committee of parishioners is working to develop a restoration plan and to raise the necessary funds to restore the church.




According to Joetta Cramm's A Pictorial History of Howard County, "Troy was a Dorsey land grant patented in the late 1600's. Colonel Thomas Dorsey lived in a frame dwelling on this patent until his death in 1790. His widow sold the 652 acres in 1808 to Vincent Bailey for $6,520. Bailey appears to have built this large stone house in the 1820's. In the mid-1800's it was called "Troy Hill Farm."


The site is now a landlocked site that was designated surplus property by the State and deeded to Howard County. Troy can be seen sitting high on a hill as you approach from the east on Route 100 towards the intersection of Route 95. The stone has been gutted by far and only the shell remains.




Blandair is an eighteenth century farm located on approximately 300 acres in the heart of Columbia. The farm is bisected by Route 175.


The main house is a fine brick mansion with many unique architectural characteristics including decorative brickwork, fine marble fireplaces, and decorative mouldings.


In addition to the main house, Blandair has many fine outbuildings, including two barns, a stone home that may predate the main house, a log cabin, and a stone dairy.


In 1987, Celia M. Holland called Blandair "one of the county's most handsome brick houses" in her book, Old Homes and Families of Howard County, Maryland. Holland also quotes 1798 tax records as reporting:

"One brick dwelling 46 x 36 two stories, one olde stone house, one olde stone kitchen, one brick smokehouse, one brick dairy."


The buildings are now deteriorating and are in critical need of basic repairs to protect them from the elements.



The court declared Howard County the official owner of the farm late in 2001. The County Executive appointed a planning committee shortly thereafter with the goal of creating a master plan for the park. PHC has worked aggressively to obtain State and local funds for the restoration of the farm. Although a State Bond Bill seeking $500,000 received the full support of the Howard County Delegation and the Howard County Executive, it did not receive approval in Annapolis for 2003, due to tight budgetary constraints. A $40,000 non-capital grant request is still pending with the Maryland Historic Trust. This grant request is unique in that it was written as a cooperative effort by PHC with the support of Howard County government.


The Columbia Exhibit Center


Howard County, Maryland changed forever with the birth of Columbia, and the Columbia Exhibit Center, in many ways, represents that birth.


Built in 1965-1067 and designed by the noted architect, Frank O. Gehry, the "downtown" Exhibit Center was the unofficial gateway to the planned community of Columbia, Maryland. For long-time County residents, this was their glimpse into the future. For many prospective residents, the exhibits in the Center were their first introduction to Howard County's past.


As Columbia nears completion of its planned construction, the importance of original structures such as the Exhibit Center may be overlooked. PHC is concerned about the future of the Center and hopes to ensure its continued existence and visibility as an integral part of Columbia's heritage.


The Center is one of four Columbia structures that Mr. Gehry designed for Mr. Rouse. The other three, also extant, are the Merriwether-Post Pavilion (1966-1967), Rouse Company Headquarters (1969-1974) and the Public Safety Building (1967-1968). It is PHC's view that the Exhibit Center should be preserved and considered for adaptive reuse. Furthermore, should the Center ultimately be razed for new construction, PHC believes that the "spirit" of the structure and its association with one of the most eminent architects of our age not only should, but must, be preserved through appropriate interpretation and modeling.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation noted in the May/June 2002 issue of its Preservation Magazine:

Threatened 1967 Public Safety Building and Exhibit Building, Columbia, MD: designed by an unheralded Frank Gehry long before the Bilboa Guggenheim, considered dispensable for new construction.



In 2001, Columbia witnessed the demolition of its first movie theater to make way for vertical commercial development. The demolition of its first firehouse is scheduled to take place in 2002. Although these two structures had little architectural or historical importance, their loss should serve to raise questions about which sites in the "New Town" are significant enough to save as reminders of Columbia's unique history. PHC continues to believe in the importance of the Exhibit Center. We are concerned about its future and hope to ensure its continued survival and visibility as an integral part of Columbia's heritage.


The Lisbon Hotel


The Top Ten List's sole entry on the historic "National Road," now Route 144, is the Lisbon Hotel in Lisbon, built by Caleb Pancoast and reputed to be the oldest surviving building in the village, according to a 1986 Lisbon Historic District guide. The same guide calls it a "grand hotel" by the 1860s, attracting visitors from Baltimore by coach and by train. From Howard's Roads to the Past, by Barbara Feaga, we learn that the hotel also housed a post office in 1851.


The structure is deteriorating rapidly and in need of restoration.



Little progress was made last year towards the restoration of this privately owned site. Our hopes were to highlight this historic resource as a catalyst for the revitalization of the entire community of Lisbon. The town of Lisbon is unique in that it is currently zoned for small parcels, typical of towns from the 18th and 19th centuries and unique for western Howard County. Unfortunately, possible contamination of the ground water from a gasoline spill over 20 years ago may limit Lisbon's potential for small-town residential growth. PHC is continuing its effort to breathe new life into the hotel and adds the town of Lisbon to its Monitor list in the hopes that creative solutions can be found to surmount these roadblocks.


Mount Joy


Mount Joy/Santa Fe Farm may have existed as a dependency of "Chews Resolution Manor" as early as 1695. Samuel Wethered is believed to have built an addition to the house in 1860. Nicknamed "Santa Fe Sam," Samuel Wethered was a long-time friend of Kit Carson's and called the home "Santa Fe."


Slaves Likely Lived in Mount Joy's Cabins   Read the article from the Baltimore Sun.

The Historic Sites Inventory identifies the stone building lying immediately southwest of the main house as an original slave quarters. Just adjacent to the slave quarters is a log cabin clad in wood siding. This cabin may predate the main house and also may have served as slave quarters.


IN 2001, Mount Joy was scheduled for development. New homes, including single family homes, townhomes, and apartments will soon cover all but a tiny portion of the farm. All the buildings except the main house are scheduled to be demolished. PHC believes that the main house, the stone slave quarters, and the log cabin can all be salvaged, restored, and used as a centerpiece for the new community.



In 2001, PHC worked hard to convince Winchester Homes to find a creative solution to their site development plans. With the encouragement and support of the Office of Planning and Zoning, the County Executive's Office and County Councilman Vernon Gray, Winchester amended their site plan with the intent of saving the log cabin, the stone slave quarters and the main house. Additionally, heirs of the owner and Winchester Homes are working with other local non-profits to find a home for other outbuildings including a bank barn and a peg and beam barn, which are directly in the path of the new development.

This is a fine example of a private developer/builder working together with the County to develop a solution that promotes historic preservation. Winchester Homes and Howard County deserve kudos for this effort


Pfeiffer's Corner Schoolhouse


The Pfeiffer's Schoolhouse was first placed on the Endangered List in 2001. Pfeiffer's Corner was a rural area bounded by Ellicott City, Waterloo, and Elkridge. The schoolhouse was built c.1895, and possibly much earlier.

In 1988, a seventh-grade class from Hammond Middle School raised $16,500 to temporarily move the schoolhouse to Clarksville.


An architectural study, which determined the original plan, was completed in 1998. Currently the structure is scheduled to be moved this summer to its new site at the Heritage Center at Rockburn Park.



Progress on this site has been slow in 2001 due to budget diversions and insufficient staffing of Recreation & Parks personnel capable of doing the necessary rehabilitation. The structure is currently scheduled to be moved to its new site at the Heritage Center at Rockburn Park this summer. PHC continues to monitor that schedule and looks forward to assisting the County in completing the move, restoration and eventual use as an interpretation center.


The Rockburn Heritage Center



The Rockburn Heritage Center is a Howard County facility in Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge that is a "work in progress." When completed, it will house three historic structures, two of which are already on site:

Clover Hill


Clover Hill was built around or before 1798. The brick and frame house, with a gable roof, is an example of late eighteenth century architecture with nineteenth century additions. Clover Hill is described as being in "bad shape." McKenzie's Bank Barn


The Aaron McKenzie Bank Barn is a late 1860's log construction barn. It was donated to Howard County in 1986 by Mrs. Jean Hannon of Ellicott City and developer Bernard Talle and moved from Ellicott City to the Rockburn site in 1987.


PHC encourages the reduction or elimination of any remaining obstacles to completing the project. The Rockburn Heritage Center has the potential to be a significant interpretive site, especially for students. Beyond the educational value derived from the diversity of the structures, the property affords other major educational benefits. For example, the Howard County Archeological Society has excavated Indian burial mounds on the site.



Clover Hill

Continuous headway has been made at this site, despite recent budgetary constraints. In 2001, the County entered into its first "curatorship" contract based on a similar State program. The contract is a public/private initiative that seeks to create an adaptive use opportunity for Clover Hill. The new "curator" hopes to use the site as a restaurant that will serve the fast developing eastern end of the County.


Aaron McKenzie Bank Barn

In 2001, the Barn was moved from its temporary resting place to a new stone foundation. The barn is undergoing restoration and will be used for interpretive programming.


Woodlawn Slave Quarters


The Woodlawn Slave Quarters represents one of the few known surviving buildings of its type in Howard County.

The Historic Sites Inventory refers to "ancient stone slave quarters located on adjoining property," probably owned by members of the Dorsey family, who first came to this area in the early-to-mid 1700s. According to Joetta Cramm's Howard County, A Pictorial History, the Howard County slave inventory listed 39 Dorseys who owned 406 slaves in November, 1864.


This early significant structure is in poor repair. This early significant structure, owned by the Columbia Association and once hidden by vines and vegetation, is in poor repair.



The roof had collapsed and the overgrowth of vines and vegetation threatened the integrity of the stone walls. PHC worked with a structural engineer to determine the stability of the walls. The Columbia Association has cleared the structure of the exterior vines and vegetation. Steps are underway to stabilize the structure and create a preservation plan.