New life in Knollwood-Donnybrook Active newcomers rejuvenate area

Neighborhood Profile

July 14, 1996|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Knollwood-Donnybrook community in the Towson area is a stable area that is being rejuvenated, according to its residents.

The community follows Knollwood Road from the 261-unit Donnybrook Apartments at Burke Avenue south to Stevenson Lane, which also forms much of the eastern boundary. It is bordered on the west by Wiltondale and other communities along York Road. It also overlooks the Country Club of Maryland and borders Herring Run.

William F. Blair, who moved to Aigburth Road 25 years ago and headed the community association in the late 1970s, said many of the older people are moving to retirement communities and being replaced by younger people.

Martin E. Marvel, who moved to Knollwood Road in 1959, said that for the first 25 years he and his family were "the new people on the block." But, he added, one of the houses next door to him recently became the home of a young couple and their two children.

G. Terry Minton, the immediate past president of the community association, said his family moved there 3 1/2 years ago when a house they had seen while driving to church came on the market.

"The neighbors are just wonderful," he said, adding, "The people are willing to get into your life if you want them to or to stay away."

He added that it was easy to find people to help with the work of the association.

He and Patricia France, the association's financial secretary, noted that it campaigned to keep the neighborhood plantings trimmed and sponsored such events as an annual crab feast and community yard sales. It holds holiday events such as a Halloween party and a Christmas decoration contest. The association also decorates lamp posts for the Christmas season.

Community residents keep watch over neighbors' homes and join with residents of the apartments and of the Fellowship Forest development to the east in a Citizens on Patrol organization. The group patrols all three areas in cars equipped with radios that can summon police if trouble is spotted by the volunteer crews.

Much of the area had been a part of Aigburth Vale, the estate of John E. Owens. He was an actor who, in 1868, built the nearby Aigburth mansion, former headquarters of the Baltimore County Board of Education.

Turn-of-the-century maps placed the area in a development known as Aigburth Manor, but maps of the late 1940s and early 1950s show few of the streets on the earlier maps.

Nursery history

Towson Nurseries had maintained its office and show garden at York Road and Hillside Avenue, to the west of the community, since 1918. It moved to Cockeysville in 1955.

A 1925 pamphlet published by the company describes the rhododendrons, junipers, yews and other evergreens, shrubs and perennials grown in the nursery fields to the east where much of the community now stands.

The booklet says the company's aim was to "inspire and awaken the desire to beautify home grounds, be they small or large, and to assist those who are facing this problem alone as well as professional landscape architects with their clients."

The pamphlet included pictures and descriptions of the decorative plantings in the show gardens as well as those at homes in Guilford, Roland Park and elsewhere.

In 1953, Philip C. Goldrick and his family moved into a new rancher on Knollwood Road from an apartment in Baltimore that had not offered as much space for their daughter.

Goldrick said that when he moved into his home there was still an equipment barn for the nursery across the street, and much of Knollwood Road to the north was still unpaved.

He said many houses were partly landscaped with plants the nursery left behind and were saved by the contractors.

In the early days of the community, Goldrick said, "Everybody was the same age and of about the same family situation."

"It was a real friendly community. It's a little different now with the young people moving in, but still friendly."

Knollwood/Donnybrook

Population: 1,200, not including the apartments (Source: community association)

Public schools: Stoneleigh Elementary, Pleasant Plains Elementary, Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School of Technology, Dumbarton Middle School, Towson High School

Zip code: 21286

Commuting time to Baltimore: 15-20 minutes

Shopping: Towson Town Center, Towson Commons

Points of interest nearby: Towson State University, Country Club of Maryland

Average price of a home: $149,596 *

* Based on 17 sales during the past 12 monthsthrough Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Information Technologies Inc.

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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