Mount Hebron opens its doors to show house's rich history


September 23, 1996|By Jean Leslie | Jean Leslie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AS WE WALKED up the luminaria-edged driveway of Mount Hebron, Historic Ellicott City's 12th Decorator's Show House, my buddy Ellen Hartranft and I reviewed what we knew about this year's show house, the former home of Judge Thomas Dorsey that now belongs to Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church.

I'd seen the building on one of Joetta Cramm's bus tours, and it looked very utilitarian -- most recently in use as a senior center.

Last Thursday, on Premiere Night, we learned a thing or two.

First, the interior was beautifully decorated by volunteer designers. Each room contributed to the overall bridal theme.

Hostesses were on hand to explain not only the room's design, but also its history.

For example, the tete-a-tete room, a nook where a desk and phone allowed for private phone calls, was a closet where H. Jones Baker kept his guns ready for nights the fox got into the chickens.

And there were slave quarters in the back of the house and secret passageways for them to move about the house, allowing them to serve unnoticed.

"Dorsey was a Confederate," Ellicott City resident Ruth Lloyd said.

H. J. Baker Sr. was the building's last private owner, ending its rich history as a home. Baker moved his nine children to Mount Hebron in 1920, where the family farmed for 40 years. His children -- H. J. Baker Jr., Franklin Baker and his wife, Lois Baker -- are still neighbors in the Mount Hebron area.

Volunteers from the Historical Society, Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church and local design firms cooperated in the metamorphosis of Mount Hebron.

Ellicott City designers are Brian Moran, Lisa Suit, Tina Louise Wojtal, Pearl Foy, Marian Berman, Ron Kvech, Enalee Bounds, Kelly Ann Kennelly, Michele Drury, Cynthia Monshower, Jessie Sessions, Louis Morrill, Leslie Meilman, John Shoemaker, Kathleen Jeschke and Susan Abel.

Outgoing Show House chairwoman Pat Fleegle, incoming chairwoman Janet Kusterer and co-chairwoman Mary Zeigler also get a tip of my hat for their hard work.

The Rev. Sydney Venable of Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, the parishioners and the senior citizens whose activities were moved to make way for the show house also deserve thanks.

On the cover of the guidebook was a line drawing by Gary Peddicord, who married H. J. Baker's granddaughter Callie Baker. The line drawings inside and the text were created by Jesse Johl. Printing was arranged by Betty Anne McGinty and Arlene Smith of Ellicott City's Key Press.

Catering at the house is provided by Oella's Paul and Rebecca Dongarra of Dionysus' Kitchen. This young business knocks itself out to offer a great menu.

The show house will be open through Oct. 20. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

The house is off Route 99 west of U.S. 29.

After-school FLASH

First Lutheran Church of Ellicott City soon will start its weekly FLASH (First Lutheran After School Happening) session, which meets from 4: 45 p.m. to 6: 30 p.m. every Wednesday.

Beginning Oct. 2, FLASH offers a structured program of Christian education, crafts and singing in the children's choirs.

Students and adult helpers share a family-style dinner.

All children, including nonmembers, are invited.

Information: 465-2977.

Volunteers recognized

This year, 56 individuals, 20 organizations and two businesses were nominated for the 1996 Howard County Volunteer of the Year award, nearly doubling last year's nominations.

This week, the winners will be announced at the "Maryland You Are Beautiful" recognition in the Banneker Room of the Howard County Office Building in Ellicott City.

The ceremony will begin at 7: 30 p.m., but plan to be early because it will be crowded.

Welcoming brunch

Harwood Park United Methodist Church is having a welcoming brunch in honor of its new pastor, the Rev. Robert Hunter III.

Hunter became Harwood Park's pastor in July and also ministers to Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Jessup.

The brunch will follow the 9 a.m. Sunday worship service.

Sunday school will be held each week at 10: 15 a.m. Classes will be offered for all levels.

Pub Date: 9/23/96

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