Decorators set to open up, show off Folly Farm


September 13, 1999|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ENALEE BOUNDS, owner of the Ellicott Country Store, has decorated the conservatory at Folly Farm -- Historic Ellicott City's 15th Decorator Show House.

Twenty or so designers from the metropolitan area have decorated the 16 rooms of the historic house.

The conservatory was added 10 years ago by the owners. White silk cymbidium orchids and distressed rattan furniture accent the subtle earth tones of the sunny room. Two of the walls are the original thick gray stone. The shape of the Palladian windows and French doors echoes an arched stone doorway that once led to an enclosed sunken bath.

The granite threshold of the stone doorway is worn from the comings and goings of the people who have used the building since it was built about 1730.

The land on which the house stands was originally part of a 7,000-acre tract bought by settler Charles Carroll in 1702. The estate was named Doughoregan Manor. A manor house built on the estate has been home to the Carroll family ever since.

About 1800, Carroll's grandson -- Charles Carroll of Carrollton -- converted the original building on the site (now Folly Farm) into a bathhouse. The pool room, with a vaulted ceiling, housed a large brick-lined pool fed by natural springs.

Eventually, Charles Carroll gave a portion of the tract to his favorite granddaughter, Emily Caton MacTavish. About 1830, Folly Farm was modified to become a residence for her family while a mansion, Folly Quarter, was under construction.

Folly Quarter, on Folly Quarter Road, is now home to the Franciscan friars. Folly Farm is a private residence owned by Park School teacher Ellen Reynolds.

Philip Carroll, a direct descendant of Charles Carroll, lives at Doughoregan Manor with his family. The house is not open to the public.

Carroll of Carrollton laid the first cornerstone of the B&O Railroad in 1828. He is widely known as one of Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Not so well known is the discrimination that Carroll experienced as a Catholic in Maryland.

Charles Carroll, the settler, had come to Maryland in 1688 expecting religious freedom. But in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Catholics faced discrimination.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was sent to boarding school in Pennsylvania when he was 10 and later studied law in London. He returned to Maryland to manage his father's holdings -- among the largest in America.

In a 1773 debate in the Maryland Gazette, Carroll wrote a series of letters under the name "First Citizen," challenging Daniel Dulany, a landowner and political figure.

Carroll was invited by Maryland leaders to attend the First Continental Congress in 1774 as an observer.

In 1776, he took a seat as a Maryland delegate to the Second Continental Congress. He was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence.

By signing the Declaration of Independence, says Philip Carroll, his famous forebear helped assure that Catholics had a place in the new nation.

Folly Farm will be open to the public from Saturday to Oct. 17. The building holds a sense of romance for Enalee Bounds.

Bounds enacted the story of MacTavish's parents -- Polly Carroll and Richard Caton -- in elementary school in Catonsville, where she lived. The play, titled "The Story of Catonsville," was a wonderfully romantic tale, she said.

Bounds, who initiated the idea of the decorator show house 15 years ago, has worked each year on them with friends and family. She feels that old houses are alive with the presence of families who have lived in them.

Bounds lives in the servants' quarters of the MacAlpine estate in Ellicott City. She was pleased when her daughter Lissa Stolte wanted to hold her wedding reception at the MacAlpine house.

"All my happy memories are at the house," Lissa told her.

Bounds and her husband, Roland, met at Catonsville High School. They have worked together to restore Ellicott City for 27 years. Enalee and her mother, Mildred Werner, opened the Country Store -- the first antiques shop on Main Street -- in 1962.

They worked together there until her mother was 90. She died at 93 in 1997.

In 1972, Bounds and her family helped rally the town of Ellicott City after the flood caused by tropical storm Agnes. She and others campaigned to create a historic district and an organization to promote and preserve the historic town, Historic Ellicott City Inc.

She involved many of her friends, including Betty Chambers, who co-chaired the first decorator show house -- Temora, the home of the Hanna family. Bounds says she instructed her volunteers to decorate the house "as if the family went for a walk and would be right back."

The library at Folly Farm is being decorated by the Catonsville Community College interior design club. The club, says adviser Richard Green, has made copies of historical documents relating to the Carroll family from the collection of the Howard County Historical Society to use in decorating the room.

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