Anneslie used to be considered a relatively inexpensive neighborhood to live in.
That was then. This is now.
"Anneslie used to be a bargain, but in the last year the homes have hit the $200,000 mark and even gone above," said Ashley Richardson, an agent with the Towson-South office of O'Conor, Piper and Flynn ERA. "Like most homes in the Towson area, there are very few homes in Anneslie on the market, and they usually sell within a week just because it's such a desirable neighborhood to be in."
Home prices in Anneslie average in the $150,00-$175,000 range, but it is not unusual to find a house priced above $190,000.
Anneslie lies inside the Baltimore County line just south of the Stoneleigh neighborhood. Bordered by Regester Avenue to the north, York Road to the west, Windwood Road to the south and Maplewood Road to the east, Anneslie consists of about 500 single-family homes.
The neighborhood is known for its English cottages and bungalows, but brick Tudors, Colonials and even Mediterranean-influenced homes also are found. The interesting mix of architectural styles is on display each year when the community sponsors a walking house tour.
Thirty years ago, Jim and Judy Dobson were looking for a starter home in the same area as their Lake Avenue apartment when they came upon Anneslie.
"It was right in the area we wanted to be. It was very convenient, and the houses reminded my wife of her parents' home in Hamilton where she grew up," said Jim Dobson, president of the Anneslie Community Association. "Anneslie is older homes with tree-lined streets and families who care about one another. It's a real old-fashioned neighborhood."
"It was a starter home for us, and we never gave it much thought as to how long we would stay. We never thought we would be in one place for so long, but we love it," Dobson said. "It's really quite nice. It's like being in a suburban area, but it's very accessible to the active city life."
The convenience of the neighborhood combined with the popular Towson school district makes Anneslie an especially attractive location for young families just starting out.
"Anneslie is sort of today's starter home because everybody wants a larger house," Richardson said. "It has a lot of charm to it with quite a blend of housing styles."
The neighborhood was named after the Anneslie estate, owned by Frederick Harrison, who was instrumental in surveying railroad and canal routes during the first half of the 19th century. He built the estate on a 100-acre tract as a summer home in 1855 and named it after his daughter, Anne.
The estate was one of many that once lined York Road from Waverly to Towson. Now restored as a private residence, the Italianate two-story villa has been placed on both the National Register and Baltimore County Landmarks lists, which protect it. The land surrounding the estate was sold and developed in 1922.
The original sales brochure dating to 1929 describes "a real country home with all the city advantages." The brochure also says that the neighborhood is "a location that will contribute to the family's health, their long life and well-being."
Anneslie residents would agree that life is good in their friendly neighborhood.
"We love the small-town community effect it has," said Ellen Huckenpoehler, who moved from Pennsylvania to Anneslie five years ago with her husband, John.
When the couple began looking for a home, their real estate agent suggested Anneslie after Ellen requested a neighborhood with older homes and sidewalks.
"I wanted to be able to get out and walk. And I wanted sidewalks so the kids could get out and ride their bikes. I didn't want to be out in the suburbs someplace. I wanted there to be people around, and I like being able to walk only a few blocks to everything I need."
The couple now have four children and say they have decided to add on rather than move to a larger house and out of Anneslie.
"We looked everywhere but have decided to stay. We are so happy with our neighbors. It's a very close-knit neighborhood. Being from out of town with no relatives around and no one to call on for help - I have it all right here. My neighbors have pitched in a thousand times. And the kids around here are like their cousins. It's really wonderful."
Huckenpoehler said the large, open front porches are what make the homes so inviting.
"So we have a community where everyone gathers on their front porch instead of in their fenced-in back yards. And that makes you know your neighbors better."
But even if the houses didn't have the friendly gathering spot, the neighborhood would still remain close through the many social events held each year around various holidays. One event that welcomes new residents is the new- neighbor party held every February.