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western run and worthington valleys
Sunday, May 17, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Chairman: Mrs. Thomas C. Whedbee,
Shawan House, 13626 Falls Rd., Cockeysville, MD 21030. Telephone: 410.771.1341
Special Project: Proceeds from the tour will go toward the ongoing efforts of the Baltimore County Historical Trust to register historic properties and historically significant landmarks in Baltimore County.
Lunch: At the conclusion of Sunday service, a delicious box lunch, including dessert and drink, will be available for $12 at the Bosley Methodist Church, 14800 Thornton Mill Road, 0.05 mi. north of Western Run Rd., from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. Reservations are required but a few extra lunches will be available. Mail your check to Mrs. Thomas Whedbee (address above). Restrooms are available.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bisected by the free-moving Western Run, a tributary of the Gunpowder River, this fertile valley, with its rolling hills as natural boundaries, presents as beautiful countryside as can be found in Maryland. These lush and varied lands were once hunted by Native Americans. References by the early settlers that buffalo, bear, deer, and wild turkeys were plentiful is indicated by the old names of the streams such as Buffalo Run and Deer Creek. Western Run Valley was settled in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The Quaker Bottom area was acquired by the Price family of Welsh Friends. The early pioneers built their homes of native materials, using natural fieldstone or locally quarried stone. Their tastes ran to simple and practical dwellings and because of their simplicity, the houses retain much of their original charm. Land in the Worthington Valley was first patented in 1706, an early date for this section of Baltimore County, by Cornelius White who received 2,000 acres called “Welshes Cradle.” He was followed by John White who patented “Prospect” of 1,000 acres in 1707, by Thomas Todd who was granted 1,000 acres called “Shawan Hunting Ground” in 1714, and by William Nicholson, a merchant of Annapolis, who acquired the remaining 4,400 acre tract in 1719 and named it “Nicholson’s Manor.” This was one of the few manorial grants in Baltimore County. These first patentees were apparently land speculators, for few of them ever settled or lived on their grants. In 1740 “Welshes Cradle” was sold to William Worthington whose family gave the valley its name and were its first permanent settlers. “Shawan House,” on the tour today, is one of the original Worthington houses still standing in the valley. Here are several of the original brick and fieldstone houses, remodeled and enlarged, as well as newer ones built on earlier sites.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
From Baltimore: Go north on Falls Rd. 6.0 mi. from Green Spring Station to traffic light at Shawan Rd. Continue through the light for 0.2 mi. to Site #1 on the left. OR take the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83) north to Exit 20B (Shawan Rd.) Drive West for 2.3 mi. to traffic light at Falls Rd. Turn right and proceed (north) 0.2 mi. to Site #1 on left.
From Philadelphia and Wilmington: I-95 South to Baltimore Beltway (I-695 West).
Take Beltway to Exit 24 ( I-83 North). Continue on I-83 N until exit 20B, Shawan Rd.,
west. Then continue as above.
From Easton and South: I-95 N to Baltimore Beltway (I-695 West) toward Towson to Exit 24 (I-83). Then proceed as above.
Follow Green Pilgrimage Arrows and Signs.
Building this Georgian house of exceptionally lovely proportions is attributed to the efforts of three men. In the middle of the 18th century, Walter Tolly Worthington constructed the wing of the present main house. His son, John, planned more ambitiously to build the central hall and east wing when, according to local history, a disastrous card game, it is said, halted further work. The west side of the house remained bricked-up until Mr. C. Wilbur Miller, The current owner's grandfather, completed Worthington’s project. So skillfully has the addition been made that it is difficult to tell where the pre-Revolutionary house ends and the modern construction begins. Two Rhinehart mantels in the dining room and living rooms are particularly interesting. Four separate gardens, including a walled kitchen garden and charming rock garden have been renovated by the present owners.
Left out of drive, north on Falls Road, 2.5 mi. to Western Run Road. Right (east), cross bridge, bear right 0.5 mi. to:
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2. Gardens at Broadacre Farm
In spite of the fact that this farm was in a state of neglect when the current owners bought it in 1969, it was love at first sight mainly because of the setting, the old tree-lined drive and the stone walls enclosing the front lawn. With three little boys, gardening was not a priority then, as time was devoted to horses, ponies, pets, and car pools. In spite of neglect and abuse, old plantings in front of the house survived year after year. Since 1980, plant collecting began from many sources, including a dear older friend Ella Calhoun, whose gift plants form the foundation of many perennial gardens from Maryland to Fire Island. Mrs. Calhoun is no longer with us, but her plants and trees thrive. What has evolved at Broadacre are very informal country gardens, wandering about the stonewalls and lawns, partially compromised of some 40-50 year old peonies, irises, a Van Fleet rose, and larkspur. Plant and tree selections have been based on leaf color and structure, as well as flowering time and color. Some annuals are present; zinnias, nicotiana, and continuous blooming dahlias for all season interest.
Left out of drive (east) 0.2 mi. to:
The early nineteenth century Quaker stone farmhouse was renovated and enlarged from 2003 through 2005 under the direction of noted Baltimore Architect James R. Grieves. It was designed to incorporate the owners’ extensive library and collections of Japanese decorative art and modern American craft furniture. The house features an enclosed Himalayan inspired courtyard rock garden and two dedicated art galleries. The house respects the vernacular architecture and character of the Western Run Valley while introducing modern and Japanese sensibilities of space and light. For ten years, the owners have concentrated on developing vast park-like gardens. In addition to collections of many varieties of conifers and Japanese maples, the garden embraces the texture and character of water, stone, lawns, fields, and wild places. The Japanese style tea house, designed for quiet contemplation, seems to float on the surface of the lake.
Left out of drive 0.3 mi. to:
4. Bridge Farm Nursery
Originally part of Scotts Farm, this 28.5 acre parcel was made into a horse farm in the early 1970s. The original stone house (construction date unknown) was then moved to its present site. In the mid 1990s the horse farm was sold and conversion to Bridge Farm Nursery began. The nursery produces field grown cut flowers, foliage and berries for florists and designers. (Caution: Visitors are welcome to walk the perimeter of the fields – a cane may be necessary – but walking in between rows is not at all recommended due to treacherously uneven edges.) Depending on Mother Nature, several varieties of peonies, viburnums, iris, foxtail lily and other seasonal crops may be in various stages of blossom. Bridge Farm is so named because of the bridge that crossed the Western Run during the 1800s (date of construction unknown) into the 1940s.
Continue down drive to:
5. Scott's Mill House
This lovely house is believed to have been built by Abraham Scott, Jr. in 1770. The original section of this mill dwelling is an excellent example of the persistence, or Hangover, of the Medieval Style of architecture into the 18th century. This portion stood in the center; the east wing (c. 1820) has been destroyed; and the west wing or largest portion, with its horseshoe stair, was erected in 1842 by “TES,” Thomas E. Scott. When the house was complete in 1842, it formed a telescope with the original miller’s dwelling in the center. The middle or earliest part is square, two-stories and attic high, built of brown fieldstone, and has on the first and second floors great summer beams. The house has been extensively renovated and enlarged by its present owner.
Right out of drive (east) 0.5 mi. to Gerber Lane, 0.1 miles to:
6. Krauss Homestead
When the owners built this sophisticated, “industrial agrarian meets luxe Telluride mountain lodge,” they chose stone and timber in keeping with the other houses of the Western Run Valley. They wanted a space that reflected the history of the area as well as projecting a modern take on a traditional theme. The house is large and roomy, perfect for entertaining, but cozy for quiet nights by the fire. With over 11,000 square feet, the interior features a sculptural raw steel staircase flanking a 100 foot gallery, 20 foot glass windows, hand hewn beams, a restaurant style kitchen, and an au pair residence. Of note, much of the construction throughout the house was done with reclaimed and organic materials.
Left out drive (east) 0.7 mi. to Thornton Mill Rd., Right 1.0 mi. to:
7. The Bosley Methodist Church
The present church is the third structure built by this continually growing group of worshippers. The original chapel was constructed in 1800 on a knoll on Conclusion Farm. The present Gothic building was dedicated in 1877. The cost of the church including the furniture, tower and bell was $8000. Church records say that the stone for the building was quarried on Bosley’s lands and was hauled by teams of member farmers. This bell, hung in 1876, was cast by the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore City. The church was paid for by donations. Pastor: Elliott G. Gray
Lunch: At the conclusion of the Sunday service, a delicious box lunch, including dessert and drink, will be available for $12 at the Bosley Methodist Church, 14800 Thornton Mill Road, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. Reservations are required but a few extra lunches will be available. Mail your check to Mrs. Thomas Whedbee, Shawan House, 13626 Falls Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030. Restrooms are available.
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