A wooded hillside in Elkridge dotted with cottages and xTC country homes that once were summer retreats for prominent 19th-century Baltimoreans is being proposed as a historic district by Howard County's planning staff and residents.
Under the proposal, Lawyers Hill, now a year-around tightly knit community with 30 houses reflecting diverse architectural styles ranging from Gothic revival to Italianate, would come under the protection of the county's historic district ordinance aimed at preserving the architectural integrity of the area.
The request was spurred by a new 50-house development on the fringe of Lawyers Hill that raised concern among longtime residents that the character of their community might change.
The proposal is set to go before the county's seven-member Historic District Commission Sept. 5 for review and recommendation. The county zoning board will set a public hearing and make a final decision.
Alice Ann Wetzel, the county's historic preservation planner, said that Lawyers Hill got its name from early residents in the 1840s who were Baltimore attorneys. The roughly 300-acre area bounded by Interstate 95, the Patapsco River, and U.S. 1.
Most of the residents of Lawyers Hill signed a petition requesting historic district status. Under the county historic district law, commission permission would be required to change the exterior of any structure, to raze a building or for any new construction.
Amy Worden, a historic site surveyor with the county, is also applying to the U.S. Department of Interior to place Lawyers Hill on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Thomas Viaduct, a national historic landmark, and the George Washington Dobbin house known as the Lawn, are in the proposed district and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Howard County has one historic district, the old section of Ellicott City that includes Main Street.