Harford History

December 30, 2007

Bel Air Academy

On Dec. 26, 1839, a deed was executed that transferred a property on what is now Pennsylvania Avenue in Bel Air from Thomas A. Hays to "The Harford County Academy."

The Bel Air Academy had been incorporated in 1811 under the name Harford County Academy. The academy was intended at first for pupils from the entire county. Soon, however, several more academies were founded with the help of state funding for higher learning and future leadership.

A school building had occupied this Pennsylvania Avenue property since 1814. It is unclear why the transfer took so long. The original building stands today and is used as office space. The 2-foot-thick stucco-covered stone walls still seem to be in excellent condition.

An inspection of the attic years ago revealed that the frame was put together with wooden pins and nails of hammered wrought iron. Much of the material was donated in 1814, and slave labor was used in construction.

Source: Our Harford Heritage by C. Milton Wright

Research by Harford County Public Library

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