Rosemont: A quiet village hopes it never changes

NEIGHBORHOOD PROFILE

Contented residents have been noticing new faces lately

October 12, 2003|By REBECCA BORECZKY | REBECCA BORECZKY,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ROSEMONT - Frederick County's Village of Rosemont hasn't changed a great deal since it was incorporated in 1953.

No businesses have ever been able to open within the village. There has been little residential construction since the 1970s. Even the local property tax rate stands where it was 50 years ago.

"The people of Rosemont don't want things to change," said Village Burgess Jackie Ebersole, referring to the 301 residents. "They like being all about family and not about business."

Nestled at the southwest tip of the county, Rosemont sits in the shadow of West Virginia's Harpers Ferry mountains. The village is about a mile north of the Potomac River. Rosemont has three main streets, where 118 homes were built between the 1920s and 1970s.

On Petersville Road, flower gardens are in front of every wood bungalow and brick Victorian. Chick Lane is tucked inside a wooded area just beyond horse farms and fields of crops. And Rosemont Drive offers a view of the mountains.

Much of the community has stayed the same, but longtime residents said newcomers have come calling in recent years.

"I sit out here and have my morning coffee. The view doesn't change, but the residents do," said Ebersole, who can see the mountains from her back porch. "Rosemont is attracting a lot of professionals who work in government or teach in schools. We are becoming a commuter community with seven trains leaving nearby Brunswick every weekday morning."

The community, about 45 minutes from Washington and 55 minutes from Baltimore, is attracting families who can't afford the rising prices closer to Washington, real estate agents said. Three houses have sold during the past 12 months, for $169,000 to $200,000, said Ivan Smith of Long & Foster Real Estate in Brunswick.

June and Paul Phillips purchased a white bungalow on Petersville Road in 1964 and raised three sons there. It is covered with wide-wood siding and has a front porch that stretches the width of the house and a summer kitchen in the back. June Phillips said the family wanted something quiet and away from the bustle of Washington.

"I have a garden to dig in and a porch for sitting," June Phillips said. "Now my grandchildren come here to play where their fathers grew up."

Geri Reynolds, recreation coordinator for Brunswick, moved to Rosemont 10 years ago to care for her horses.

"Rosemont was the perfect place because it's so quiet here," she said.

At the town limits sits Merryland Park, named after the area's original land tract. The 5-acre park is next to Catoctin Creek, where neighborhood children often chase frogs. A dozen picnic tables sit beneath tall pine trees overlooking a well-stocked fishing pond. In the middle of the park is a community center that can be rented for family functions. Behind the community center is a shooting range where turkey shoots are held, with frozen turkeys going to the winning shooters.

Rosemont residents celebrated the village's 50th anniversary in the park last month. Erma Merriman, 77, remembers playing there during the 1930s when she was a girl.

Frogs and picnics

"I used to catch frogs in the creek and have picnics here," Merriman said of the park. "I was born in Rosemont in my parents' house in 1926. Rosemont was a railroad town; most of the families living here worked for the railroad in Brunswick. I grew up in the Depression but never went hungry. People in Rosemont shared their gardens and livestock with each other. We were one big family."

The village also became the home to two distinctive houses during the 1930s that remain dwellings today.

In 1930, Dr. J.G.F. Smith, a local physician known by his initials, received the first Sears, Roebuck house delivered to Rosemont. Smith did not like the standard siding material and had local craftsmen add a brick veneer, several residents said.

"I remember the day the flatbed truck arrived," Merriman said, "all that lumber."

Steel house

Then there's the Meyer Kaplon steel house. In 1933, Kaplon had the house built after seeing one at the World's Fair in Chicago.

In 1953, a Brunswick banker wanted to build a mill on the outer edge of Rosemont. Fifty-five of the residents signed a petition against it and asked the governor of Maryland to grant the Village of Rosemont incorporation. The request was granted, and residents have fought any efforts to annex their village ever since, said Frederick-area Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr.

He said Rosemont's tax rate, 10 cents for each $100 of assessed value, is the lowest of any of the state's municipalities. The village depends on Brunswick for fire and ambulance service, its schools and its hospitals. Rosemont residents pay a fire and ambulance tax of 6.5 cents on every $100 of assessed value.

"Rosemont is a real throwback community," Weldon said. "Brunswick has annexed much of the land around Rosemont, but the residents remain resistant.

"They want to remain a village."

The Village of Rosemont

ZIP code: 21758

Schools: Brunswick Elementary, Brunswick Middle, Brunswick High

Drive time: 55 minutes to downtown Baltimore; 45 minutes to Washington

Homes on the market: One

Average list price: $195,100 *

Average sales price: $187,300 *

Days on the market: 148 *

Sales price as a percentage of listing price: 96 percent ** Based on three properties sold during the past 12 months as compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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