For sale: 7-BR mansion, ghosts included Historic house is local 'showcase' ELLICOTT CITY/ELKRIDGE

August 23, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

In the market for a historic mansion, complete with smokehouse, watchtower -- and a history of resident ghosts? Lilburn may be the place for you.

The seven-bedroom, seven-fireplace estate on College Avenue in Ellicott City, on eight acres backing up to Patapsco Valley State Park, is for sale.

Built in 1850, the mansion is for sale for $740,000.

"It's always been one of the showcases of Ellicott City," said Joetta Cramm, a local historian and author.

"It's one of the larger fine houses, and being situated on a hill overlooking the town gives it status," Ms. Cramm said. "I hope somebody gets it who really enjoys it."

Mike Gary, with ERA Caton Realty, which is handling the house, said it is rare for an estate such as Lilburn to go on the market.

"If something unusual pops up, then people want to see it," Mr. Gary said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Lilburn was built by Henry R. Hazlehurst, an executive with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, for his second wife, Elizabeth McKim, after his first wife died.

The Hazlehursts raised a family there, and after Mr. Hazlehurst's death near the turn of the century, the Odd Fellows fraternal organization bought the house.

The Macginnis family owned Lilburn in the 1920s, and then it became a home for mentally retarded Jewish children in the 1930s, Ms. Cramm said.

According to local historian Celia Holland, the house acquired the reputation of being haunted by the spirits of the Lilburn family.

Legend has it that the ghostly presence arose from the deaths of two Hazlehurst daughters, both at Lilburn.

The first child, Maria Eleanor, died in 1858 at age 3, and the second, Julia, died at age 32 in 1893 while giving birth.

"The tragedies that took place were believed to have been responsible for the presence of a saddened spirit," Ms. Holland has written.

Beginning with the Macginnises, she wrote, residents of Lilburn reported inexplicable incidents such as swinging chandeliers, doors closing mysteriously and footsteps coming from the watchtower.

One of the most unusual occurrences was when the house was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood Balderson in the 1960s. The family dog went into a "frenzied panic" in front of the room that was once the nursery of Maria Eleanor, the child who died at Lilburn.

After that, the dog never again went near the door, Ms. Holland wrote.

Despite the strange happenings, Ms. Holland wrote, the Baldersons were "convinced that a peaceful coexistence with the occult was possible."

Mr. Gary said the current owners, Dr. Randy Brandon and his wife, Jan, have never observed any unusual incidents in the eight years they have lived in the house.

Whether the ghost tales are true or not, "it does make a good story," Ms. Cramm said. "Even though the Hazlehursts are probably . . . spinning in their graves."

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