Copyright (C) 2015 Preservation Howard County



Howard County's Top Ten Endangered Sites, 2008

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, deepwater 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."


Columbia Town Center Lakefront Promenade/Gehry Buildings


Historic Significance: Columbia's Rouse Company building (now the home of General Growth Properties) and the Exhibit Center are 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.

T he lakefront promenade, which includes these buildings, and the unique Town Center landscape design, serve as the Columbia Icon, the representative image of the "new town." Redevelopment of this area must balance revitalization with the preservation of our sense of place and history


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.


The stone structure, an essential part of small town life, is ideal for an adaptive use that continues to serve the community. Howard County Government is currently evaluating its potential as a base of operations for Howard County Tourism.




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


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


Mount Hebron Stone Barn


Historic Significance: This stone building is located on what was once the 21,252-acre farm of Judge Thomas Beale Dorsey, a well known lawyer in Howard County and Chief Justice at Annapolis in the early 1800's. Judge Dorsey was instrumental in the Howard District's becoming a county in 1851. Howard County Planning and Zoning along with Maryland Historic Trust have documented that the barn at one time was used as a slave quarters.

Threat: Development and Demolition

T his beautiful early 1800’s stone structure lies in the heart of a future residential development and the County is in search of a preservation buyer to restore it as a unique residence on site, or to dismantle the barn and move it to a new location. Time is quickly running out, however, and the alternative to preservation is demolition. The beautiful hand construction of this structure is a fine example of early stone mason craftsmanship.


Ellicott City Jail


Historic Significance: Also referred to as Emory Jail or "Willow Grove," the Ellicott City Jail was constructed in 1878. This Romanesque revival structure is a unique architectural landmark.


Threat: Demolition


Currently used for storage, the building has been stripped of much of its classic ironwork and fittings. A ‘temporary’ roof which replaced the architecturally correct slate roof is still in place. This building, in the heart of the designated historic district, has great potential for adaptive reuse, but is in decline from years of neglect and sporadic use.


Sykesville (South Branch Recreational Area)


Historic Significance: The original site of the town of Sykesville. These industrial buildings, built between 1870 and 1936, which stand along the Patapsco River, represent the industrial heritage of this area.


Threat: The County has entered into an innovative arrangement with the Town of Sykesville for the stewardship and adaptive use of this site, but the buildings are quickly deteriorating and time is of the essence if they are to be preserved as a part of Howard County’s early industrial heritage.


The Maryland Historic Trust’s Inventory of Historic Sites summarizes this area: "Six buildings and structures occupy the 7.369 acre South Branch Recreational Area Survey District. They include a brick warehouse, a wood water tank and its concrete block pump house, a stone dwelling, a truck scale house and a metal warehouse."