Something for everyone Renting or buying in Cockeysville

Neighborhood Profile

February 09, 1997|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"It seems like everybody moves to Cockeysville when they first come to the Baltimore area," said David Marshall, a Realtor with O'Conor, Piper, Flynn and a former Cockeysville resident. "It's apartment city."

With hundreds of rental units, from one-bedroom garden apartments to four-bedroom townhouses, Cockeysville seems to have something for every lifestyle. Some families move into an apartment complex and may stay for years. They're drawn to the neighborhood schools, the shopping centers within walking distance of most complexes, and the amenities that apartment living can provide -- such as tennis courts, swimming pools, and a full-time maintenance staff.

House buyers, however, can discover a wide range of options, from a snug Cape Cod or rancher built in postwar developments to luxury homes in new upscale areas such as Ivy Hill that sell for up to $1 million.

If you're looking for housing in Cockeysville, look north of Padonia Road on the York Road corridor, where residential areas, industrial parks, and shopping centers commingle -- generally, west of York Road houses Hunt Valley industries such as McCormick and Co., Procter and Gamble and a host of others; east of York are apartments, houses, shopping centers and schools.

Sherwood Road, in the 10000 block of York Road, across from Cockeysville's famed Antiques Row, cuts through the heart of old Cockeysville. It's "Leave it to Beaver" territory, featuring Cape Cods, ranchers and Colonials built from the 1940s to the 1960s.

The quiet streets, pretty lawns and woodsy setting belie the fact that the York Road corridor is just minutes away, one of the busiest public libraries in the state is within arm's reach on Greenside Drive and Baltimore is just a 20-minute drive down Interstate 83.

Knollbrook, a popular old Cockeysville neighborhood of 30 homes, is tucked into this area. Built after World War II, this established, intimate community offers a safe and happy place to raise children, said Bob and Louise Rouleau, who moved into their brand-new brick house in 1951 and never left.

They remember Cockeysville when there were no traffic lights north of Padonia Road, when the Wyebrook Whiskey Distillery was situated behind the neighborhood, and when the Northern Central Railroad took passengers from Baltimore to Chicago.

Now, intense commercial development and congestion necessitate numerous traffic lights. The distillery was destroyed during Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972, as was the railroad track that supported the NCR line and its well-known underpass on York Road. The train bed has become a recreation path for cyclists and joggers.

The Rouleaus have seen the evolution of Knollbrook, too, as well as their house.

"When we moved in it was a two-bedroom home, with an unfinished second floor," said Bob. They added onto the house many times, bumping out front, back and side walls, finishing the upstairs and adding an enclosed back porch.

They installed gardens, planted trees and dug a small fish pond with a waterfall often visited by neighborhood youngsters, as well as the "kids of the kids who were raised here."

Other original owners remain in Knollbrook; the whole neighborhood turned out last year to celebrate Knollbrook resident Peggy Johnson's 91st birthday. Newcomers, mostly young professionals with children, have moved into the neighborhood, attracted by its friendliness and safety.

And children return to reminisce. During the Cockeysville Fire Department's 150th year celebration last year, the Rouleaus' son, Robin, made sure that he was there for the parade, reminiscent of those he and his friends watched every summer as a child.

In addition to a variety of housing opportunities and convenience to amenities, one of Cockeysville's allures is its ethnic flavor, reflected in the student population at Padonia International Elementary School, where children from 28 nations are represented in the classroom and flags of the world hang in the hallways.

Principal Eileen Copple said most of her students live in the area's apartments where their parents are staying while pursuing research or graduate studies at Baltimore universities. Other parents have opened successful local businesses, and then, in a worldwide word of mouth, tell their relatives abroad about the good life in Cockeysville, who also come to stay.

"I've never been in a place where there's so much natural acceptance," Copple said. "Children often come to school on their birthdays wearing their native costumes. And I remember my first year here, walking into the lunchroom and seeing everything in lunch boxes, from sushi to chopsticks."

Staffing at the school accommodates those who know little or no English. "We give lots of hugs, tissues, and put labels on everything," Copple said. "It's a warm school because of the diversity."

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