The huge trees that fill Stoneleigh and line its main road give a feeling of grandeur and awe. But for many neighborhood residents, Stoneleigh's attraction is people.
Nine-year resident Ann Schaufele describes Stoneleigh as having a "wonderful mix of people. There are lots of families with kids of all ages. And the neighborhood still has a few of the original owners."
Stoneleigh, like many other neighborhoods in Baltimore County, has a lively social life -- Easter, Christmas, Labor Day and Halloween parties for the children and a pool party, a golf tournament and a formal dance for the adults.
Primarily a neighborhood of lawyers, doctors, small business owners, stockbrokers and corporate executives, the community has its own swimming pool, which dates from the mid-1920s.
Stoneleigh has many more attractions. It has the lower taxes of the county, yet is easily accessible to both the city and county. There is 61-year-old Stoneleigh Elementary School in the neighborhood, which has a large playground and recreation area. Within walking distance are a middle school and a high school.
Today, Stoneleigh has about 530 houses. But originally there was only one home: the 22-room Stoneleigh House. It was, according to the Stoneleigh Community Association, "a notable manor house, redolent of stately Victorian charm, which was a landmark in the county for more than a century."
The original 230-acre tract of land was purchased by Robert P. Brown in 1850. Brown, the son of the founder of the Baltimore Medical College and the first president of the University of Maryland's Board of Regents, began building Stoneleigh House in 1852.
Stoneleigh House remained in family hands until the mid-1950s, when it was sold and torn down to accommodate about 50 new houses.
Most Stoneleigh homes date back to the post-World War I years when development first began. By the 1920s about 100 homes were completed. The second wave of development within the Baltimore County neighborhood took place in the 1950s.
The neighborhood has always been exclusive; several, although not all, of the original homes first sold in the $70,000-to-$75,000 range.
Today the neighborhood borders are: on the west, York Road; on the north, Hatherleigh Road; on the east, Rich Hill, Pemberton and Kenleigh roads; and on the south, Regester Avenue. In 1986 the community incorporated the 7200 block of Oxford Raod into Stoneleigh.
The style of homes is predominantly colonial and Tudor. Bob Norrell, Prudential Realtor and neighborhood resident, said smaller three-bedroom homes generally sell for between $180,000 and $250,000, and that the larger four-bedroom houses sell in the $230,000-to-$275,000 range.
There was, however, one house that sold within the past three years for $340,000. "It was a large Tudor near the swimming pool that had many improvements," says Mr. Norrell.
"The houses on York Road usually sell for a bit less, because of the traffic," he said, "usually about $140,000 to $170,000."
"While some of the really terrific homes sell in one day," Mr. Norrell said, "there are many others that in today's market usually take about a two-month period to sell."
Ms. Schaufele notes that many owners have made major additions to their houses rather than move to another neighborhood. She also points out that there have been Stoneleigh houses sold through word-of-mouth.
"One sold in a matter of four or five hours," she says. "Many people move up in Stoneleigh -- from one house to one that is larger -- rather than leave the neighborhood."
There are about a dozen homes for sale in the neighborhood.
According to Bill Engel, Meredith/Better Homes and Gardens real estate agent, the highest-priced home is 800 Chumleigh Road, which has an asking price of $279,000. "This is a 35-year-old ranch-style home with five bedrooms [two of which are in an added wing] and four bathrooms. There is, of course, a living room, dining room and kitchen. It also has a finished clubroom in the basement and a one-car attached garage."
A home selling for considerably less -- the asking price is jTC $215,000 -- is 904 Kingston Road. "It is a 61-year-old stucco Tudor-style house with three bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. Along with the living room, dining room and a new kitchen is a one-car attached garage, finished club room and porch," he said.
Another Stoneleigh home that recently sold was a large Colonial with a sun porch and a two-car garage. The four-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath house did not have air conditioning or an updated kitchen. "It sold for $300,500," says Mr. Norrell.
In addition to beautiful houses, the neighborhood has plenty of magnificent trees and a great deal of green space. And along Stoneleigh Road, which was the road to the old manor house, the original trees line the street.