Conference center owner puts 1738 manor house, Elkridge estate up for sale

Chemical society says Belmont doesn't fit plans

April 14, 2004|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

The Belmont Conference Center, a historic Elkridge manor house with an 82-acre estate, is for sale, its owner announced yesterday.

After being its steward for more than 20 years, the board of directors of the Washington-based American Chemical Society decided to sell the property because Belmont didn't fit the group's plans.

"Having a conference center was not really aligned with our strategic mission" of being the premiere provider of chemical information in the world, said the society's executive director and chief executive officer, Madeleine Jacobs.

State tax records show it was assessed last year at almost $3.57 million.

Built in 1738 for the son of Caleb Dorsey, an Elkridge ironmaster, the 44-room, Georgian-style manor house was converted into a conference center by the Smithsonian Institution during the 1960s.

During that time, the property was visited by notables such as Nobel laureates and the joint chiefs of staff, society officials said.

The American Chemical Society purchased the property in 1983 to use for its scientific meetings, but now the group has outgrown the facility, Jacobs said. "The size of it has been limiting" for scientific meetings, she said.

Jacobs and the society's other board members would like to see an individual or other like-minded organization purchase the property and run it as a conference center, she said.

"They're looking for that person that will take it to the next level," said Creig Northrup, the real estate agent listing the property.

The site is protected by perpetual easements held by the Maryland Historical Trust. "We're planning on putting restrictions on the sale so it can't be subdivided," Jacobs said. "It is going to be restricted on how it can be used."

Almost surrounded by Patapsco Valley State Park, the estate boasts tennis and volleyball courts, an in-ground swimming pool, croquet lawn, walking trails, formal and herb gardens, as well as several smaller buildings and conference space for 10 to 50 participants.

"It is a beautiful place, a lovely place to have a small conference," Jacobs said.

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