PRESERVATION HOWARD COUNTY

Howard County's Top Ten Endangered Sites 2004

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

 

The 19th century 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 and door frames, is rotted. The Archdiocese of Baltimore, ultimate owners of the site, took control of the project. Although substantial funds have been raised, no actual restoration has been started. The roof withstood one more winter, but may not withstand another.

 

Claremont Overlook

 

Dr. James Hall constructed Claremont Overlook in 1858. It is an outstanding and rare example of an architect-designed home in the Italianate style. A one-story brick outbuilding behind the house likely served as a kitchen and may predate the main house.

 

According to Howard County Tourism, Inc., the site, which overlooks the Thomas Viaduct and Patapsco River, was the only Civil War fort/battery in Howard County. During the Civil war, Maryland was mostly sympathetic to the southern cause. If Maryland had been allowed to secede with the rest of the Southern states, the capital of Washington would be located behind enemy lines. To secure the state, Lincoln sent General Benjamin Butler to occupy important positions throughout the state. On May 5th, 1861, General Butler sent the 8th New York and 6th Massachusetts Regiments and Cook's Battery to protect the railroad property from attack or sabotage by the South.

Currently, the site is being considered for residential development.

 

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The Enchanted Forest

 

This theme park, which was opened in 1955, is one of only a few story-book theme parks left in the United States that have reached the half-century mark. The park was the subject of a recent Historical Society exhibit and was the focus of a National Trust for Historic Preservation article in January.

 

"Friends of the Enchanted Forest," a citizen’s group formed in 1999, disbanded after raising only $320,000 towards a goal of $1.2 million. Former park owners say the strip-mall developer broke his pledge to keep The Enchanted Forest alive. Current owners, Kimco, will not return calls or messages seeking offers of help or information.

 

The current site may be untenable due to wetland restrictions, limited parking, and traffic concerns, but PHC has been approached by an organization that has offered to retrieve, restore, and set up the park resources at a nearby children’s destination. This would breathe new life into The Enchanted Forest theme park. Kimco’s unresponsiveness and the continuing neglect and deterioration of not just the interior of the park - but also the exterior that faces the shopping center - makes any solution unlikely.

 

 Mount Moriah Lodge

 

The Mount Moriah Lodge is a two-story frame building on Guilford Road next to the Asbury Methodist Church. It was constructed in 1896 or 1897 and was associated with the neighboring church. The site had long been a place where the African American community could gather to celebrate their religion and their community. The construction of the Lodge was an outgrowth of the burgeoning effort of the African American community in the 1890’s to uplift the race. The formation of a variety of African American fraternal organizations had their basis in putting their faith to work on behalf of the everyday needs of African Americans. These organizations provided education, job training, and meeting space to its members and the greater community.

 

Currently, the building sits vacant and in fair condition. It requires major roof repairs in the very near future. It is notable because it remains largely in original condition.

 

Elk Ridge Assembly Room

 

Judge Dobin proposed the Elk Ridge Assembly Room in 1869 as a unique place to bring together the neighbors of Lawyers Hill who were divided by the Civil War. The residents constructed the building in 1871 on land donated by Judge Dobin. The building is simple in design to serve the purpose of neighborhood gatherings and theatrical presentations. Howard County Tourism, Inc. and the Maryland Office of Tourism Development hope to include this site in Maryland's next Civil War Trails program.

 

While time has not deteriorated its original purpose, time has taken its toll on the building. The community is trying to raise funds for basic needs through bake sales and plant sales.

 

Troy

 

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." 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 site is now a landlocked site that was designated surplus property by the State and deeded to Howard County. The stone has been gutted by fire and only the shell remains. The County is still negotiating access to the site and is encountering difficulties with a surrounding property, which is being used as an illegal junk and dumping ground.

Funds were included in this year's Capital Budget, and the National Park Service hopes to begin an archeological excavation in the Fall of ’04.

 

Blandair

 

This eighteenth century farm is located on approximately 300 acres in the heart of Columbia. The main house is a fine brick mansion with many unique architectural characteristics. In addition to the main house, many outstanding outbuildings exist, including two barns, a stone home that may predate the main house, a log cabin, and a stone dairy.

 

All the buildings are deteriorating and are in critical need of basic repairs to protect them from the elements. The Blandair Planning Committee submitted concept plans for the park, which included goals to restore and preserve the historic dwellings. A $500,000 Bond Bill was approved last session by the Maryland Legislature for the restoration of the main house and

Mount Joy

 

MonteJoy/ Santa Fe Farm may have existed as a dependency of "Chews Resolution Manor" as early as 1695. The Howard County Historic Sites Inventory identifies the stone building lying immediately northeast of the main house as an original slave quarters. Just adjacent to the slave quarters is a log cabin, which is clad in wood siding. This cabin may predate the main house and may have also served as slave quarters.

 

In the last year, the stone slave quarters has partially collapsed due to neglect. The main house is still deteriorating.

Last year, the Howard County Conservancy deconstructed the 1700's-era barn and hopes to rebuild it on its Mount Pleasant Farm in Marriottsville. Funds are being raised for that effort. Grants offered by Maryland Historic Trust were rescinded because the plans call for the barn to be built partially within a bank and not on a full stone foundation. MHT will not advance the funds unless it is a full stone foundation. History indicates that the barn has been both a bank barn and a full foundation barn at one time. Recreating it on a full stone foundation is cost-prohibitive for the nonprofit Conservancy, so the Conservancy is looking for other sources of income to complete its mission.

 

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.

 

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. That curatorship formally fell through this past Spring. The County is actively seeking other opportunities for the restoration and use of the farmhouse.

 

Woodlawn Slave Quarters

 

The Woodlawn Slave Quarters represents one of the very 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. This early significant structure, owned by the Columbia Association and once hidden by vines and vegetation, is in poor repair. Although the Columbia Council voted formally to allocate limited funds for studies, nothing has been done to stabilize or protect this resource since it was placed on the list.

 

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