Close community is steeped in lore, deep in family ties

Neighborhood profile: Glyndon

Homes are not cheap in ex-vacation spot for Baltimore's elite

January 23, 2000|By Ron Snyder | Ron Snyder,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In today's hectic, go-go society, it's been easy for many communities to evolve into a neighborhood of transients.

But go to Glyndon and what you'll find is a neighborhood where it seems that everybody knows everybody. It's a community with deep roots in Baltimore County lore, being the first county community to be listed -- 1981, by the County Council -- as a historic community. Glyndon, in the western part of the county, is sprinkled with families who go back four or five generations.

"Glyndon is one of the few places that still have that feeling of community," said Eleanor Taylor. "There is such a small turnover here."

Much has stayed the same in Glyndon since Dr. Charles Aleas, Baltimore City's first health officer, decided to plan the community in 1871 on land he purchased in the late 1860s. It originally was a summer community for Baltimore's wealthy looking to escape the hot summers of the city. Many lived in extravagant Victorian homes, while others lived in Emory Grove -- a small group of 45 to 50 cottages that today remain as homes to many residents.

Originally called Reisterstown Station, the community was renamed Glyndon in 1879 after the town had a drawing for the name and selected the Scottish name Glyn. It then experienced a population growth after the Western Maryland Railroad was extended to the area in 1895, connecting it to Baltimore.

"Most people took the train from Baltimore to Glyndon just for a vacation in the summer. Then they came in the winter, and eventually just decided to stay," said Velma Enza, 76, a Realtor for O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA in Reisterstown and a life-long Glyndon resident.

During the population boom at the turn of the century came a growth in community organizations, many of which are in place today. The Women's Club of Glyndon was formed in 1900; the Glyndon Volunteer Fire Company has been in existence since 1904. Also, since 1931 residents have spent their summers relaxing at the Glyndon Swim Club.

However, it is not cheap to live in Glyndon. Enza said homes in the area can sell between $200,000 and $300,000.

"Even if they are fixer-uppers, people are still buying them up just because it is in Glyndon," she said.

Since its birth more than 120 years ago, Glyndon has prided itself on a small-town feel that many people are searching for. But, the area's extreme popularity has led to more people living in Glyndon over the last decade. This has led to a boom of new homes in recent years for the historic district.

Homes in Welsche's Cradle, a community of two-story Victorian-style homes off Sacred Heart Lane, sell for prices between $170,000 and $200,000. The 3-year-old development, with homes ranging from 1,900 to 2,400 square feet, had its last new home sold in August, said Sandy Hinsche, a sales representative with Ryan Homes Inc., builder and developer of the community.

"There was an attraction to that area because of its closeness to the Sacred Heart Church and school," Hinsche said. "There were a few restrictions we had during construction because of Glyndon's historic designation, but other than that, everything went well."

It was the closeness of the church and school that brought Janice and Bruce Norris to Welsche's Cradle in July. Originally from Owings Mills, the Norrises wanted to enroll their 5-year-old son in the Sacred Heart School.

"It's a very quiet community," said Janice Norris, 40. "I was surprised how rural of a feeling there is here."

Other Colonial-style developments, such as Glyndon Meadows and Glyndon Mews -- with average prices in the mid-$200,000 -- have enjoyed success.

"Anything built in Glyndon has to keep up with the historic design of the community, so you won't see any split-foyers or contemporaries built there," said Terri Gutcher, a Realtor for Re/Max Advantage Realty in Reisterstown.

People have flocked to Glyndon in such great numbers that new homes are being purchased before the model home has been built. This is true with Glyndon Watch, a planned community by Regional Homes that will have 28 single-family homes on Glyndon Drive off Bond Avenue.

"We have sold five [homes], and we are still in dirt," said Craig E. Hyatt, a broker with Pinnacle Real Estate Co. "We plan on having people living in some of the homes by early summer."

Before starting the project, Hyatt said, he took into consideration the housing density of the area.

"We did not feel that over-saturation would be a problem because of the amount of buildable land that exists," he said. "We don't feel there are enough homes here to be considered overabundant, because there is such a strong desire to live here."

Not everyone has the same opinion about the rapid expansion of Glyndon. Beverly Potts has lived in the community for 35 years and said the new developments never seem to end.

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