The African-American community has had a long history in Lutherville. Many blacks settled there after slavery ended, coming from Hampton Mansion. They moved into pockets along Bellona Avenue and established Edgewood United Methodist Church and a community school, which are still going strong.
Though many African-Americans still live in Lutherville, local historian and author Louis Diggs says, the population is aging, as younger blacks move into newer suburbs. That's not good for history, he said. "Young black people today no longer want to take and restore grandma's house," Diggs said. "They like newer developments. It's a real problem because one day, no one will know that it was a black area."
Dr. William Andersen and his wife, Barbara, have taken great pains to preserve the look and history of their Downing-Vaux-styled home, acquired in 1963. With a balcony and huge front porch, the home was built in 1880 and served as a dining center for the Lutheran community. Andersen said he was attracted to the area because after the effort required for medical school and completing a military tour in Korea, he craved tranquillity. He found it in Lutherville.
"It happened that a home was available here. I bought it," Andersen said. "I feel like I live in a hotel. All I see are trees and blue sky."
Now retired, he uses the home to display his extensive clock collection, lace curtains, glassware and pottery. His collections reflect local history. One of his prize possessions is a whiskey bottle from the 8-Mile House, a popular tavern that was on York Road in the early 1900s.
The homes require no small amount of maintenance. They're big, for one thing. Wood floors, endless windows, high ceilings, rambling yards and nooks and crannies all need plenty of upkeep. Some homeowners hire housekeepers to help.
Over the years, Andersen and his wife have wallpapered, fixed pipes and leaks, painted and perhaps the biggest job, ripped off the old siding shingles - by hand. For history's sake.
"I saw a picture of the house taken about 1906. I knew it had been changed. I always thought the shingles were wrong," he said. "From the picture, and a magnifying glass, I knew where they put the brackets on the front porch."
Lutherville house tour
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Date: Saturday, rain or shine.
Web site: www.lutherville communityassociation.org
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 on the day. Purchase them at Watson's Garden Center, 1620 York Road, or at Consign by Design, 1432 Front Ave. On the day, several neighborhood locations will sell tickets.
Directions: Take Interstate 695 to the York Road North exit. Drive to Seminary Avenue, turn left and head straight into the historic district. Street parking is scarce, so try to park at a nearby shopping center (at York and Ridgely roads) or at the Park and Ride (see map). A shuttle will run to the tour from the Park and Ride.