Baltimore area's shared experiences Beyond boundaries: Metropolitan jurisdictions have much in common historically.

April 09, 1996

An editorial in yesterday's editions misidentified Homewood as the home of Col. John Eager Howard. In fact, Colonel Howard's mansion was known as Belvedere and was located near today's Belvedere Hotel. It was built over a period of eight years (1786-1794) and was demolished in 1875-1876 when Calvert Street was extended north.

The Sun regrets the errors.

WHILE IT IS commonly known that Baltimore City once was part of Baltimore County, it is not often remembered that before Howard County was established in 1851, it was part of Anne Arundel County, then Baltimore County and later part of Arundel again. And while the jurisdiction was named after Col. John Eager Howard, the Revolutionary War hero's home was not there but at Homewood, now in Baltimore, but in those days part of Baltimore County.

Which leads Joetta M. Cram to ask in a pictorial history about Howard County: "Would we have been named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton if our neighboring county to the north had not been formed in 1836? Although John Eager Howard owned property in this county, he did not live here, but Charles Carroll did."


Why recount all this musty geographic genealogy in an editorial column that typically deals with topics of the day?

For good reason. As the various metropolitan jurisdictions have become distinct legal entities, parochialism has often been the result. Yet we should not overlook the heritage and past experiences these places share.

Metropolitanism is a concept that has not been readily embraced in the Baltimore area. That is understandable. As the suburban counties experienced a growth explosion after World War II, each had different projects it wanted funded, concerns it wanted resolved.

Now that the growth has accelerated to the level that the counties in the Baltimore-Washington corridor have become more and more urbanized, it is time again to emphasize that many of the metropolitan area's problems are common ones, best dealt with through cooperation. This does not mean that any county will have to compromise its independence. It simply means that in making decisions that may have an impact beyond local borders, officials of a jurisdiction should seek to ascertain what their colleagues next door are doing to address the same problem. Among areas where such consultation is important are public safety, public works, zoning and housing.

Metropolitanism has never enjoyed an easy constituency in these parts, as shown by the virtual demise of any effective regional government entity. But from a historical perspective, across-the-border cooperation is a natural.

Pub Date: 4/09/96

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