Malcolm Dill, Beltway planner, dies

March 03, 1993

Malcolm Howard Dill, Baltimore County's first planning director and a major influence in the development of the Baltimore Beltway, died Feb. 24 at the Broadmead Community in Cockeysville. He was 94.

From 1947 to 1964, Mr. Dill, as director of the Baltimore County Planning Commission, played an influential role in the tremendous residential and industrial growth in the county during that period.

In a 1990 interview, Mr. Dill recalled naming the Baltimore area's main commuter loop, also called Interstate 695, which opened in 1962. He said he thought up the name "Beltway" as an alternative to "circumferential route," the term being used at the time, in 1948.

The germ of the Beltway idea was for a boulevard to run east and west, a bit farther in than the current interstate, connecting the Loch Raven area with Towson and perhaps running a bit west toward Falls Road, but not much farther, recalled Bernard M. Willemain, once Mr. Dill's deputy.

Mr. Willemain said he helped Mr. Dill expand the concept into a limited-access interstate that encircled the city and also helped him successfully pitch that idea to the State Roads Commission.

Family members remembered Mr. Dill encouraging young planners in his Towson office.

Mr. Dill was a native of Richmond, Ind., and a graduate of the School of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University.

While at Harvard, he was president of the Glee Club. He later had leading roles with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society in Dayton, Ohio, in the 1920s and 1930s.

After a decade of working in Dayton, Mr. Dill worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Harrisburg (Pa.) Area Regional Planning Committee and the Hamilton County (Ohio) Regional Planning Commission.

Before coming to Baltimore County, he was acting director of master planning for the Cincinnati Planning Commission.

Mr. Dill was a member of the American Institute of Planners, the American Society of Planning Officials, the American Planning and Civic Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects and President Herbert Hoover's Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership.

A memorial service for Mr. Dill will be conducted at 2 p.m. March 20 at the Broadmead Community.

Survivors include two daughters, Janet Cameron Duffy of North Berwick, Maine, and Elizabeth Dill Hume of New Hope, N.J.; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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