Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage
You are viewing an archived page from a past tour.
To see this year’s tour pages click here

Mantua Mill Area

SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011
10 am to 5 pm

Special Project: Proceeds from the Baltimore County Tour will be used to support the work of the Baltimore County Historical Trust. The purpose of the Trust is to preserve historic properties in Baltimore County through education, research, technical assistance, and policy formulation. The Trust is dedicated to the core belief that the preservation of the past is essential for shaping the future.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The significance of the Worthington Valley lies in its unaltered, rural atmosphere which has not changed appreciably in over 200 years. The land is divided into numerous farms, some up to 200 or 300 acres in extent. Many properties have been inherited by the present owners who are endeavoring to run them as in the past, retaining the open spaces and restoring and occupying the substantial homes which dot the countryside. It has not always been thus: following a period of settlement and rapid growth in the 18th and 19th centuries, there occurred a time of depression and financial strain in the latter part of the 19th century when many of the large family estates fell into disrepair and were sold to others. During the 1930s and 1940s, still more change took place and there began an exodus from the more densely populated area to the south into the Valley. Those who came were people appreciative of the qualities of the soil, especially for raising horses. They and their descendants have restored the dwellings and revitalized the farming operations, but they are, for the most part, businessmen rather than full-time farmers as were the early occupants of the district. Horse breeding and racing is a very large and lucrative business in the valley.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

ROUTES FROM BALTIMORE AND POINTS SOUTH: I-695 E to I-83 North, follow for approx. 5 miles to exit 20B, Shawan Rd. West. Continue 2.5 mi. straight onto Tufton Ave. Follow for 1.7 mi. and turn right onto Mantua Mill Rd.. Proceed 1.3 mi. and stay left onto Mantua Mill. Go 0.8 miles to Site #1 on left.

FROM WILMINGTON AND POINTS NORTH: I-95 South to I-695 W towards Towson. Exit onto I-83N and follow as above.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A delicious box lunch, including drink and dessert, will be available for pick up at the Green Spring Hounds Clubhouse, 13920 Mantua Mill Rd,  between the hours of 11:30 A.M. and 2:30 P.M. by reservation only.  The cost is $12.00 per person and your check will be your reservation.  Please mail your check to Mrs. Thomas C. Whedbee, 13626 Falls Rd., Cockeysville, MD 21030.  Luncheon must be reserved by Monday, May 9, 2010.  Restroom available in Clubhouse.






Designed and built in 1955, this brick and plaster house in a quiet enclave of the Worthington Valley, near Butler, possesses the established look of an old farmhouse and the foundations of a formal garden. The large rectangular garden is structured around long axial views bordered by flower beds. The longer view begins at a thick hedge of enormous rhododendrons and extends along a grassy path to the pool, threading through two trellises planted with clematis, passion flower, Mandeville, and roses that bloom throughout the summer in a profusion of color. From the patio of the house, the view extends through the garden to an old smokehouse relocated from a Baltimore County farm some 40 years ago and rebuilt as a garden shed, complete with fox weather vane.




Mantua Farm was the dwelling of a successful businessman and farmer. It is distinguished by its strong Greek Revival style and its imposing appearance. The house was built on part of the Brian Philpot, Jr. property. Architecturally, it fits into the period of the 1840’s and thus it was probably built for John Philpot, the son of Brian Philpot, Jr.. John Philpot studied law and made his home at Mantua Farm only briefly before moving in Baltimore City. In 1872, the property came into the hands of the Gill family who had settled the area before 1800 and owned land on the opposite side of Mantua Mill Rd.. George Washington Gill left the Mantua Farm to his son, Andrew, who was the manager of John Tolley Johns’ vast real estate and an official of the Maryland Penitentiary in the late 19th century. Following the first World War, the farm was sold to the William Voss Elder family and subsequently to the Bonsal family.




Zastaria is approximately 134 acres with two cottages, a wood shop, equipment shed, horse barn, storage shed and the homestead that has a springhouse, root house, guesthouse, garage/studio and the main residence. The earliest land records dating back to 1760 describe Roger Boyce selling 250 acres to John Gill. John Vanderbogart purchased 136 acres and all buildings in 1936 from Mary Elizabeth Caples. He built the oldest part of the house using stone from earlier structures and stone from the nearby Texas and Butler quarries. When Mr. & Mrs. William Cochran acquired the farm in 1951, they added the living room and master bedroom . Mrs. Cochran converted the garage into the guesthouse, added the pool, lily pond, Pond View Cottage, the wood shop, some cattle sheds and the pond. In 1972 the farm passed to Mrs. Cochran’s son, Senator Daniel Brewster who after 35 years sold the farm to the present owners. The present owners undertook a major renovation/expansion/update that added the garage/studio, breezeway, mudroom, kitchen/family room with bedroom above, full basement, opened up the front and back stairs, restored the springhouse and root house. They also built the equipment shed. Windy Meadows Cottage was acquired in 2009. Zastaria was the name of the owner’s family lands in Poland. “Zastaria” means timeless.





This cottage at “Hunting Ridge Farm” was built in 2005. At the same time trees were planted and a garden begun – using large stones found while excavating, some relocated plant material and some new natives and bulbs. The view from the house and garden is up a steep hill looking into a beautiful pasture with several small coverts, horses grazing (and probably deer too!) Entering from the front screened-in porch, one sees the garden through the house. There is color everywhere – inside and out. There is also an artist’s studio (not tidied) but open to anyone who may be interested. Stroll along a shrub and bush border up the hill to the house and garden. Note especially the incredible view of the neighboring pond.




Goose Green Farm was built in 1948 by Mr. and Mrs. William McHenry. The house was designed by the well known architect Charles Ness, and the original interiors were created by Billy Baldwin. The house remained in family hands until the early 1970’s, when the farm was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Carey Jackson. The Jacksons added the ha-ha wall in the yard, where the Green Spring Valley Hounds continue to meet on New Year’s Day. Catherine Jackson was a noted gardener, and her legacies include the daffodils throughout the yards. The current caretakers of Goose Green, purchased the farm in 1987. They have restored the original farm house that dates from the 1840’s, added additional barns, and have made some changes to the main house, notably adding double porches to the back of the house to take advantage of the wonderful views the country presents.





This house, formerly called Stamford in honor of its owners’ family home in England, is the clubhouse of the Green Spring Valley Hounds. It is the most sophisticated dwelling of its era in this region and was probably considered a rather pretentious mansion when it was erected around the turn of the 19th century. Alterations have been superficial and most of the original elements remain as do the original outbuildings. Brian Philpot, Sr., a merchant and one of the first settlers of Baltimore Town, owned a large amount of real estate on the waterfront. His son, Brian Jr., a man of apparent wealth, was one of the four partner’s who, in 1757, purchased and divided Nicholson’s Manor, now part of the Worthington Valley. Although Philpot received three tracts of land in the division, he seems to have settled on the Stamford site and indeed, his heirs remained there until 1925 when the property was sold to the present owners. The date of the house is a matter of conjecture. It is recorded that Brian Philpot, Jr. settled in the Valley soon after the end of the American Revolution. Tax records of 1783 indicate that he owned 1005 acres, that there were some improvements on the land as well as a brick dwelling, but it’s dimensions do not match the present structure.




The owners of this property first noticed how the house and barn nestled into the land, surrounded by the horse pastures and looking onto the pond – a magnet and haven for all types of wild life. Built on 32 acres in the early 70s, Foxbriar now encompasses an additional 50 acres of woodland, streams, pasture, ponds, and house. All of the property is in Conservation easement with the Maryland Environmental Trust. The house, by architect Jimmy Grieves, is designed to make the most of its natural surroundings. The vaulted and beamed ceilinged rooms manage to be both airy and cozy. The outdoors is everywhere thanks to large windows in every room. A 2000 renovation replaced the original kitchen and included the addition of a fourth bedroom and bath. The original gardens were extensive, but the shade overtook the garden as the willow oaks on the pond side grew. Recently updated, the gardens are simple and extend the easy living space of the house. The vegetable garden, with its geometric raised beds lies along the well worn path from the house to the barn. A small fountain and tree covered patio provide a place to relax and take in the sunset and pond reflections.




The Geist Meeting House is a one story brick Mennonite meeting house, three bays in length, with a gable roof built about 1850. The principle entrance is centered on the south façade, oriented toward the road. Located on a piece of the former Jacob Geist property and is an unaltered example of a rural meeting house, built in conformance with the philosophy of the strict simplicity practiced by the religious organization. Jacob Geist was a reformed Mennonite who came to the Worthington Valley in 1849 from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He purchased a large farm and set aside a piece of it for “the purposes of a church lot and family burial ground.” Members of the Geist family are still living in the area and the church is still used for occasional services and burials.


Baltimore City (Mt. Vernon) | Calvert County | Kent County | Baltimore County (Mantua Mill) | Prince George’s County | Anne Arundel County (South County)

Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage Headquarters
3 Church Circle Suite 190  | Annapolis, MD 21401 | 410.821.6933

Twitter: @
MarylandHGP      Facebook      Linkedin