In the late 1800's the Whitaker Iron Co. mined for ore in Lansdowne. Abandoned pits from the mining were filled up by underground springs creating small ponds and lakes. Lansdowne was mostly farmland including the Kessler farm, MacLeod farm and Wades farm.
When the railroad came Lansdowne became known as a B&O town. Most people worked for B&O, commuting by train into Baltimore City. The first station was named Coursey Station. The Coursey Station senior housing center takes its name from this.
The two main roads were Hammonds Ferry Road and Hollins Ferry Road, both of which led to the Patapsco River where you could take a ferry across to the other side.
Early churches included the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, St. Clement's Catholic Church, Lansdowne United Methodist Church, Lansdowne Christian Church and the First Baptist Church. The site of the original wooden school house was on the property that is now St. Clement's.
In the area known as Baltimore Highlands is a legendary mansion called English Consul. The land and house were owned by William Dawson, the first English Consul to Maryland. One legend claims that Dawson had a brother who was transported from England to America in disgrace. Each year he was to receive a whip lashing as punishment for the crime he had committed. This took place on the English Consul estate. Another legend has it that the mansion was a stop on the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. In 1909 a developer purchased the estate. It was eventually divided into the areas known as Baltimore Highlands, Rosemont, Friendship Gardens and the small section still called English Consul.
In the 1950's housing developments sprang up in the Baltimore Highlands and Riverview areas. Schools were built for these neighborhoods. In Lansdowne the Lansdowne Elementary School, Lansdowne Junior High (middle school) and Lansdowne Senior High were known as the "Golden Education Triangle".
In the early 1960's the B&O closed the railroad crossing and Lansdowne Boulevard was constructed, connecting Lansdowne to Washington Boulevard, bridging over the railroad tracks. A tunnel was also constructed under the tracks for pedestrian crossing. Some old railroad cars were erected as a museum and shopping area alongside Hammonds Ferry Road and the railroad tracks.
In the 1980's Baltimore County Recreation and Parks opened a large parcel of land for public use. Southwest Area Park is located on the Patapsco River just below Baltimore Highlands.
A small library was built by Baltimore County in 1966, on Third Avenue. In 1993 the Lansdowne Library was closed due to budget cutbacks. The building was then used as the Southwest Community Center, serving the area's needs for adult education and other county services.
In 1989 the Lansdowne/Baltimore Highlands Senior Center was built directly behind the library building. After the new Senior Center opened the Baltimore County Police Department operated a PAL (Police Athletic League) Center in the former library. In 2006, the PAL Center moved to a new facility on the grounds of Lansdowne Elementary School and in April of that same year a newly remodeled Lansdowne Library re-opened for the public.
For more information about Lansdowne, please contact the Arbutus Branch.