Copyright (C) 2015 Preservation Howard County


Howard County's Top Ten Endangered Sites, 2007

Doughoregan Manor


Historic Significance: Doughoregan Manor is a national treasure located in the heart of Howard County. It is a designated National Landmark of international importance, as the man who called it his home triggered events in the 1700's that changed the face of the world.


Threat: Development. A Maryland Historic Trust Easement protecting the property expired in May of 2007. The current family is contemplating development and preservation options.


Doughoregan Manor was built circa 1725 by Charles Carroll The Settler, and his son Charles Carroll of Annapolis. Charles Carroll III (the grandson of the Settler) was one of four patriots from Maryland who signed the Declaration of Independence. As the only Roman Catholic Signer and, at the time, the richest man in America, he had everything to lose in his pursuit of liberty and of freedom of religion. He is interred in the private Catholic chapel on the grounds of his beloved home. Doughoregan Manor was a frequent destination of many patriots, including George Washington, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock.


Additional historic features include one of the earliest private Catholic Chapels in Maryland; existing significant outbuildings, including barns and slave quarters; and historic cemeteries. The Carrolls were instrumental in creating the first leg of the National Road, which ran from Baltimore City to Ellicott City and westward to the Cumberland Gap. The road, which runs along the northern border of Doughoregan, was designated by Congress in 2002 as an "America’s Byway" - one of only two in Maryland. In 1998, it was designated by the Maryland State Highway Administration as a "Scenic Byway."


"He who postpones till to-morrow what can and ought to be done to-day, will never thrive in this world. It was not by procrastination this estate was acquired, but by activity, thought, perseverance, and economy, and by the same means it must be preserved and prevented from melting away."

- Charles Carroll of Carrollton, July 10, 1801


Belmont, Elkridge


Historic Significance: Belmont, a National Register property, is one of the oldest, surviving colonial plantations in the County and one of Howard County’s most unique landmarks.


Threat: Development. Plans by the current owner, Howard County Community College, call for the extension of public water and sewer, the construction of more than 100,000 sq. feet of additions and new buildings, and roads and parking areas that violate the spirit of the preservation easement drafted by the Smithsonian Institution in 1983 to protect this significant historic asset.


Listed on the National Historic Register, Belmont was built in 1738 by Caleb and Priscilla Dorsey on a tract patented in 1695 as "Moore’s Morning Choice." The property remained in the extended Dorsey family for 229 years.

Belmont is completely surrounded by the Patapsco State Park and by private land under conservation easements for nearly a half-mile in every direction. The land surrounding Belmont is as significant as the house itself; the rolling hills, pasture and woods remain much as they were in the days of Caleb Dorsey: thus the setting is similar to what existed in 1738 when the Belmont lands exceeded 1,300 acres.


The Dorseys’ farmed their extensive land holdings and built and operated forges and iron furnaces along the Patapsco River near Elk Ridge Landing. For over 100 years, ships bearing goods manufactured in England sailed from the Chesapeake Bay up the Patapsco River for six miles to Elk Ridge Landing, the last deep water portion of the Patapsco before the first falls of the Piedmont.


The Dorsey’s of Morning Choice, their land, and their methods of doing business were a significant part of this early economic, social, and cultural history of the Patapsco valley. This cultural landscape is the last surviving relic of the prominent position occupied by Elk Ridge Landing as an inland, deep water shipping port and industrial powerhouse in the lower Patapsco valley during the 18th and 19th centuries.


In the 20th century, Belmont was owned by Howard and Mary Bruce. Mr. Bruce was a prominent industrialist and financier. Known for his superior organizing ability, during WWII he became the first civilian to administer the Army’s production, procurement and delivery of vital supplies. For this valuable service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.


Woodlawn, Columbia


Historic Significance: Woodlawn, A National Register property, was built in the first half of the 1800’s.

Threat: Deterioration: Woodlawn is deteriorating through neglect and is being overshadowed by extensive commercial development.


According to the Maryland Historic Trust, "Woodlawn is a two-story, stuoccoed stone house constructed in the mid 19th century whose design reflects the transition between the Greek Revival and Italinate styles. Woodlawn derives significance from its architecture and from its association with Henry Howard Owings.


Architecturally, Woodlawn is unique in Howard County in representing the transition between Greek Revival and Italianate styles. Elements of the Greek Revival are embodied in the building’s square proportions, smooth stuccoed surface, and simple interior trim, while the central projecting bay and deep cornice reflect Italianate influence.

Woodlawn is also significant for its association with Henry Howard Owings, a prominent landowner and farmer. The property’s present appearance reflects the period of Owing’s occupancy in the 1850’s and 1860’s during which he served as Judge of the Orphan’s Court for Howard County."


Gehry Buildings, Columbia


Historic Significance: Columbia's Rouse Company building (now the home of General Growth Properties), the Exhibit Center, and Merriweather Post Pavilion are all early works of the world renowned architect, Frank Gehry

Threat: Demolition: Plans for the redevelopment of Town Center in Columbia leaves the fate of these architecturally significant buildings in question.



Christ Episcopal Church


Historic Significance: The oldest Episcopal Church in Howard County , built in 1727.


Threat: Deterioration: The church is in the process of raising funds for the vital restoration of the original church building and its stained glass windows.


According to Celia M. Holland's Landmarks of Howard County, Christ Church, built in 1727, was designated Queen Caroline Parish Church in 1728. The Reverend James Macgill (Macgill’s Common) served as its first full-time rector. After the Revolution, Christ Church suffered for lack of care and was practically abandoned. Then in 1809, the present building was erected on the foundation of the old.


Today, nearly 200 years later, the church is in active use, but deteriorating and in need of funding and repair. The structure has been enlarged, but the original church containing memorial stained glass windows given in honor of Rev. MacGill and an old slave gallery which extends around three sides of the church, remains the heart of the structure.


The church is seeking funds to replace the cedar shake roof, restore the stain glass windows, and replace the wood trim.


U.S. Post Office, Ellicott City


Historic Significance: Dedicated on December 7. 1940, the Post Office is home to two murals painted in 1942 by Peter Paul DeAnna.


Threat: Deterioration: The oil paintings, titled, "Building of Ellicott Mills" and "Landscape of Ellicott City," are one of 16 such Post Office murals in Maryland, and. are in need of restorations and protection. PHC believes that this building should be purchased, restored and maintained, potentially by Howard County, as a base of tourism operations in Ellicott City.


UPDATE! On October 1, 2007, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced that the County has signed a letter of intent to purchase the U.S. Post Office building. In the press release, the County Executive states,

"Currently home to offices for Howard County Tourism and Congressman Elijah Cummings, under County ownership the building will continue to serve in these functions, and its use as a welcome center and tourism hub will be greatly expanded. The building will provide Howard County Tourism with the space they need to create a one-stop shop for information about the many historic treasures and other tourist attractions in Ellicott City and throughout Howard County."


The County will finalize the purchase of the Post Office on April 1, 2008, pending an assessment of the feasibility of the purchase. Ken Ulman is "optimistic that after conducting sufficient due diligence, our initial positive assessment of the purchase will prove true and we will be able to preserve another important piece of Ellicott City's history forever."




Historic Significance: A crossroads community at Routes 108 and 216, established circa 1759.

Threat: PHC is concerned that zoning changes and in-fill construction will irrevocably change the historic nature of this community.


Saint Charles Seminary


Historic Significance: A Catholic seminary built in 1848 on land given by Charles Carroll, the Signer of the Declaration of Independence. It served the Sulpician priests for over sixty years until a fire destroyed the College, leaving only the ruins of the 1906 Recreation Hall. Much of the original seminary was salvaged and transported to Catonsville, where it was rebuilt and now serves as part of the Charlestown Assisted Living community.


Threat: The Terra Maria Homeowners Association is struggling to finance its extensive restoration of the 1906 Recreation Hall ruins located off Rt. 144 in Ellicott City. This is an example of a developer leaving the maintenance of a historic site to the community.


Clover Hill


Historic Significance: Clover Hill was built around or before 1798.


Threat: Deterioration


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. Unfortunately, that initial curatorship deal fell through, The home, located in Rockburn Park, has been stabilized, but the search for a public or private curator to establish an adaptive use of the building continues to be unsuccessful. Models for an adaptive use for this historic property include the privately owned King’s Contrivance Restaurant and the curator ship of the Elkridge Furnace Inn.


Stevens Road Schoolhouse


Historic Significance: A Colored School in the old community of Colesville, off Montgomery Road, was possibly built with funds from the Rosenwald Foundation, which was established by Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, to improve the quality of public education for African Americans. It was used as a school from 1920 to the mid 1930’s.


Threat:  It is to be demolished for new home construction.