Howard History

October 16, 2005

1963: Rouse purchase unveiled

As Columbia residents gather this week for a series of meetings to chart the future of the city's downtown, consider this: On Oct. 29, 1963, developer and financier James W. Rouse told county officials that his was the "mystery" firm that had purchased more than 14,000 acres of land in central Howard County and he intended to turn in into a "balanced planned community."

According to an Oct. 30 article in The Sun, the announcement "ended months of speculation on the identity and purpose of the `mystery' buyer of what had been termed as a `land grab' in some quarters."

The land for the future home of Columbia amounted to about one-eighth of the county, the article stated. The average price per acre: $1,300.

[Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this item.]

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