Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage
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SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
10 am to 5 pm

Special Project: Proceeds from the Baltimore County Tour will be used to continue restoration efforts at Caldor Castle, Parkton.  Specifically the front façade fenestration and entryway will receive funding.

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

The tollgate near the Wiseburg Inn is long gone and the transportation bustle that once epitomized Parkton now is quieted.  In the 19thcentury, however, the York Turnpike charged ahead through farms and over streams as the main thoroughfare for wagons and horses and buggies. The Wiseburg Inn also known as the Half-Way House stands today as a premier example of a very early turnpike sentinel.  Later, the road was joined by another transport mode. The Northern and Central Railroad transported passengers and freight between York and Baltimore. Many Parkton citizens, mostly fathers, rode the train each day into the city and back again at the end of the work day. They often shared their seats with school students. Students bought a special ticket that was punched each day as they traveled to school.  By the last third of the 1800s and the first of the 20th century, the railroad framed and defined the town and the area. Stores, homes, schools and churches were the offspring of movement of people and things and the lifeblood of rural commerce.  This area of North Baltimore County remained rural and even undisturbed until the last part of the 20th century, boasting architecture such as the Wiseburg Inn, Castle Calder, some middle to upper class homes on Hillcrest often built and owned by railroad employees and their families. Even today with the spread of exurbia, much of the early atmosphere remains.

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




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

A delicious box lunch, including drink and dessert, will be available for pick up at the Parke Memorial Church, 18909 York Road, Parkton, Maryland  21120, between the hours of 11:30 A.M.– 2:30 P.M. by reservation only.  The cost is $12. Per person and your check will be your reservation.  Please mail your check, payable to Parke Memorial Church, to:  Patricia Bentz, 1141 E Piney Hill Road, Monkton, Maryland  21111.  Lunches must be reserved by April 30, 2014.  A few extra lunches will be ordered and available at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis, for $13. Per person.  Restroom will be available at the Church.  Please park in the rear.




This massive brick edifice has monitored the York Turnpike since 1810 and indeed may be considered a child of the transportation era. Inns were immensely important in early history for the refreshment and sustenance of men and beasts. (That is not to overlook the women who were welcome in the lady’s parlor). The Wiseburg Inn (1810) is considered a complete innyard; – all manner of needs were met – food, sleeping accommodations, horse changing, sleighs, animal tending and entertainment. Original innkeepers John Wise and later Pleasant Hunter assured that the popular inn was the center of community, politics, news and social activities. Auctions were held on the front steps, parties hosted in the good parlors and food and drink served in the barside. The owner has retained the original wooden grille work which was locked at night. From this we get the phrase “bar and grille”.  The earlier rear log section was the original segment and it sits today much as it would have in the last third of the 1700s. Cooking was truly a chore at the large fireplace which holds its original ironwork.  The Wiseburg Inn and its out buildings including the bank barn have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



BAXTER HOUSE AND GARDEN, Stablersville Road, White Hall

This house served as the G. Stabler Store in 1850 and the Stablersville Post Office in 1853.  The interior logs of cherry and chestnut are c 1850, but there is evidence of a structure built here as early as 1804.  Originally a tract of land equaling 1,000+ acres, the two story log structure showed the owner’s financial wealth.  The property still boasts the original springhouse and summer kitchen, as well as a later built three room peg barn.  During the Civil War, rooms were added featuring horsehair plaster and the house took on a larger footprint.  The next addition came in 1990 when a dining room/library, a third bathroom and a sizable kitchen were completed.  The style here is ‘elegant country’.  Stroll around the numerous gardens loving planted and cared for by a master gardener. 


PARKTON STONE ARCH BRIDGE, Frederick Road over Little Falls, Parkton

This unique construction was built in 1809 to span the Little Falls of the Gunpowder. Each arch is 18’ wide and formed a part of the York Turnpike system. Designed by John Davis, first superintendent of the Baltimore Water Company, it has the honor of being the oldest stone arch bridge in the State of Maryland.




Built on land donated by a church member, Parke Memorial is a fine example of a quaint village church, painted white, designed in the Victorian style complete with steeple and church bell. Unlike some other churches, however, part of its graveyard is under the church. Captain James Calder and some members of his family had graves moved there. The cornerstone was laid in 1889 in a Masonic Ceremony.  The stained glass windows were installed in the 1930s. Mr. Marion Anderson, a builder from nearby Mt. Zion Road was the builder.  The Victorian style church parsonage, while not on the tour, is just next door.



Many villages in the County were privileged to have their own schools. And Parkton is no exception. The Board of County School Commissioners provided for this frame and clapboard building to be built in 1889. Construction is attributed to Mr. Shamburger, a well-known nearby farmer. The design differs from the more mundane cookie cutter style of many of the smaller village schools with plentiful windows allowing for good light for the students. The front pavilion is shallow but did provide a bit of cover of students waiting to enter on foul weather days.  Preserved are the original windows, shutters, doors, chimneys and siding.  The informal gardens surround an old fashioned swimming hole and include both colorful flowers and edible vegetables and berries.  Come see a demonstration of container gardening at its best.  With the consolidation movement   of small schools in the 1930s, Parkton School was closed and students took the nearby train to the Agricultural High School at Sparks.



CASTLE CALDER, York Road, Parkton

While this home was never an actual castle, the local reference of this name descends through the original Capt. James Calder family. Capt. James returned from colonial wars and was awarded vast acreage of land in the county.  His original house on this site burned and was replaced by the current home in1876. The two story brick building is designed in a modified Federal style with a healthy dose of comfortable porches.  Captain Calder farmed the land around him but also ran a grist mill and a distillery. Many generations of Calders have lived in the house, leaving the imprint of such families as Turner, Park, Rampley, Harris and Emack. Some of them are those buried under the Parke Memorial UM Church.  The current owners have been working with great zeal to restore the home and the property.


TALBOT-FAGAN HOUSE,  Hillcrest Road, Parkton

Resting as a sentinel on the highest part of the Hillcrest Ave ridge is the Talbot-Fagen house circa 1902.  It is a notable example of Stick and Shingle architecture, a predecessor to Queen Anne style. It was built by local lumber yard owner A. Alonzo Sparks. From the appearance of the design, it may be argued that it was taken from a pattern book as many houses of the time were.  When taken into consideration with the other homes on Hillcrest Ave, it helps to set the atmosphere for the secluded homes of those families whose fathers rode the train to the city five days a week.  Wives and daughters remained at home “keeping house” and sons most likely walked down the hill to work for the Northern Central Railway.



SPARKS-LANDIS HOUSE, Hillcrest Ave, Parkton

Several homes were constructed, perching over Parkton village. The Anna V. Sparks home was one that she had built ca. 1901. Completion date was is unsure but the house is a taxable property as seen in the 1911 County Tax ledger. Anna later sold it to Joseph and Sarah White. The house is frame and clapboard in the late Victorian style with sawn “fancy” woodwork with its various colored paint as decoration. A porch overlooks the former rail yards and the rear of the house faces Hillcrest Ave.





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