Ruxton land was settled in the early 1700s, when members of the Coale family, ancestors of Mr. Dunn, were among the first to begin farming the rolling hills there. But it was not until the 1890s that Ruxton grew up as a satellite to Towson, wrote historians Neal A. Brooks and Eric G. Rockel in their book "A History of Baltimore County." The community was named after Nicholas Ruxton Moore, who had been a Maryland congressman and hero during the American Revolution and War of 1812 and for whom there is a plaque installed in the Ruxton village center.
The name "Ruxton" was apparently first used in 1885, when the Northern Central Railroad built a passenger station there. The next year, Judge William Fisher and his brother Charles bought a large farm on the west side of Bellona Avenue, just above Lake Roland.
In the 1890s, according to the Baltimore County historical volume, several developers intended to turn the area into a summer resort community. In 1892, the real estate firm of Wood, Harmon and Co. announced the sale of 224 building lots on the east side of Bellona Avenue, across from Judge Fisher's property.
Tradition survives in Ruxton, not only through the old Victorian houses that once served as summertime retreats, but also through the L'Hirondelle Club, which began as a rowing club and still offers a private restaurant, as well as tennis and swim facilities for area residents who join on an annual basis.
Although many members of Baltimore's power structure live in Ruxton and the community has won many of its self-preservation battles through the years, there are reasons to believe that the affluent community has not always gained VIP treatment from the government authorities.
One battle lost by Ruxton involved the opening of the light-rail line, which began operating from Timonium to Camden Yards, via Ruxton, in 1992. Many members of the community voiced opposition to the light rail, on the basis that it would be noisy, intrusive and disruptive of the wildlife in the area.
"We were opposed to the light rail coming through with such speed just so people could have access to Camden Yards. That was the only reason it was built," said Carol Shear, one of the light-rail opponents who grew up in a Colonial home on Malvern )) Avenue and returned to Ruxton to buy a new contemporary on Riderwood Station six years ago. Mrs. Shear, a 47-year-old widow, recently retired as a computer specialist and has taken up full-time volunteer work.
Many opponents say there have been problems with the light rail -- especially noise along the tracks -- but acknowledge that the rail line hasn't been as devastating as they feared. But opposition remains to the addition of light-rail stops in Ruxton. Many fear they would be of little use to residents and could bring crime into the community.
Ruxtonites, who enjoy having few commercial properties in their suburban community, are always vigilant on issues related to zoning and land use, said Mrs. Zouck, the first vice president of the Ruxton-Riderwood-Lake Roland Area Improvement Association.
"We're very concerned about any kind of commercial encroachments that would harm the character of the life we have here," she said.
* Population: 3,500 (Prudential Preferred Properties Inc.)
* Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 20 minutes
* Commuting Time to Washington: 75 minutes
* Public School: Ruxton/Riderwood elementary; Dumbarton Middle School; Towson High School.
* Shopping: Ruxton Village Center
* Nearest Mall: Towson Town Center, 4 miles east
* Points of interest: Robert E. Lee Park and Lake Roland border the community
* Average price of single family home*: $354,200
* Zip code: 21204
* Average price for homes sold through the Central Maryland Multiple Listing Service over the past 12 months.