Residents don't want to leave

Neighborhood profile: Linthicum

Despite airport, I-695, quiet lifestyle prevails

September 19, 1999|By Martin Schneider | Martin Schneider,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The sound of jets is a constant rumble. Cars on Camp Meade Road line up in a virtual standstill on the way to far-off destinations. Hotels and restaurants spring up on what used to be farmland.

Sitting just miles from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Linthicum may not be at the forefront of a house hunter's list of prime locations to buy, but to longtime residents of this northern Anne Arundel County community, the neighborhood may be the ideal place to live.

Tony DeSanctis, who's been living in Linthicum for the past 20 years, was so committed to staying in the community that he made his growing family wait two years until they found a bigger house rather than give in and move to another area.

"I could have gone to Severna Park and had 10 times the home selection," said DeSanctis, who moved in May. "But it would have been a total different lifestyle than here in Linthicum. I want to raise my family here."

DeSanctis isn't alone. Potential homebuyers are seeking Linthicum, where homes are selling almost at their list price and are on the market for less than three months.

Susan Thomas, a real estate agent with O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA, said there often aren't enough homes for sale for people who want to buy in Linthicum.

According to the Metropolitan Regional Information System -- the multiple-listing service for Realtors -- 32 homes have been sold in the last 12 months with an average selling price of $148,737. Thirteen homes are currently on the market -- and Thomas says that's not enough.

"The demand is eclipsing the supply," Thomas said. "People move in and they don't want to leave. They just fall in love with the charm of the place. Homes [rarely] go on sale here."

Although the proximity to BWI and Interstate 695 concerns some buyers, residents have long fought to slow commercial growth in the area.

When Martin Muller bought a house in Linthicum more than 15 years ago, there was little evidence of fast-food restaurants or convenience stores. He's glad the view from his kitchen window hasn't changed.

"You don't have strip malls on your front lawn because there's a fairly specific border between the businesses and the homes," said Muller, a 39-year-old father of three. "Even though business is booming, the balance is what keeps Linthicum such a unique little community."

While morning traffic can be hectic and businesses now obscure a once-beautiful landscape, many residents say Linthicum's location is a blessing in disguise -- or at least a necessary evil.

"You would never know that you are so close to Baltimore or the airport or the highway," said Armand Citroni, a lifelong resident. "You're not far from anything in Linthicum."

Linthicum has always been a crossroads for Maryland's transportation systems.

It began to grow from a community of only 20 homes in 1908 when the W. B. & A. Electric Railroad laid a double-track system from Baltimore to Washington that went right through the town. World War I brought another expansion as the only road to Camp Meade, an Army post about 12 miles south of the town, ran through Linthicum.

Friendship Airport, today's BWI, was constructed in the 1950s and brought more commercial traffic and homeowners to the area as it expanded.

The land on which Linthicum now sits was part of a land grant in 1674 by the Lords of Baltimore to Nickolas Painter of St. Mary's, who later granted the land to the Linthicum family.

The community of Linthicum grew out of that homestead after the family had farmed it for more than 150 years.

Today, Linthicum is considered to be bounded by Baltimore and Annapolis Boulevard to the north, West Nursery Road to the west, Elkridge Landing Road to the southwest and Aviation Boulevard to the southeast.

The three- and four-bedroom Cape Cod, rancher and Colonial homes that make up most of Linthicum's neighborhoods are also home to many original owners.

"It's really like going back in time," Thomas said. "In Linthicum you often see grandparents, children and grandchildren all living within blocks of one another."

Carol Harmon has lived in Linthicum her whole life and has worked in Max's Variety Store on Camp Meade Road for the past 38 years. Like her brother and sister, she stayed in the area and continues to live in her parents' old house.

"Linthicum is all I've ever known," Harmon said. "I've never wanted to live anywhere else. The airport and the new developments on the other side of town have changed things a bit, but it's still the same quiet town."

LINTHICUM

ZIP code: 21090

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 10 minutes

Public schools: Linthicum Elementary, North Glen Elementary, Hilltop Elementary, George Cromwell Elementary, Ferndale Elementary, Lindale Middle, North County High School

Shopping: Linthicum Shopping Center, Stavias Center, Burwood Shopping Center

Homes on market: 13

Average listing price: $153,667.16

Average sales price: $148,737.37

Average days on market: 80

Sales price as a percentage of listing price: 96.79%*

*Based on 32 sales in the past 12 months as recorded by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

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