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Photo of house in Parkville

History of the Parkville Area

 

House on Taylor Avenue c. 1923-4

Photo of pioneers founding Parkville.

"...three bounded red oaks standing by the side of the
Little Run, a branch of the said Herring Run..."

 

The ground upon which most of modern day Parkville presently stands was first surveyed in the colony of Maryland in 1735. It was Charles Calvert who gave permission to survey a 3,000 acre tract of land for Messers William Chetwynd and John Whitwick of Beddington in Surrey, England.

 

When John Rustin adjusted his surveyor's level to determine the boundaries of the tract of land called Grindon on April 18, 1735, he began at "three bounded red oaks standing by the side of the Little Run, a branch of the said Herring Run..." The tract then continued in a northerly direction eventually encompassing what is now known as Parkville. The northern border of Grindon runs just south of Joppa Road, the western border is west of and including Old Harford Road, while the eastern boundary runs just this side (west) of the Baltimore Beltway.

 

Harford Road, which runs directly through the center of Grindon, was not yet a path in 1735. Harford Road, known as the Baltimore and Harford Turnpike, eventually became a part of Philadelphia Road in colonial America, and the main thoroughfare for the northern and southern colonies. However it was not until 1773 that the first stagecoaches traveled - up to once a week - from Philadelphia to Baltimore. Harford Road going south from Parkville meandered along the Patapsco through "Old Town" and "Fell's Point." General George Washington traveled it as did Lafayette and the troops of the Continental Army.

 

The original purchasers of Grindon, Chetwynd and Whitwick, were probably minor members of the British Parliament and the purpose for buying this section of virgin forest was for its trees. Coke was a major fuel during this period, and we speculate that this was the real value of the land.

 

The seal of John Whitwick of Beddington in Surrey, England was adopted as the seal of Parkville during the Centennial celebration held in 1974.

 

Photo of the Hiss house. One of the earliest settlers in the area was Dr. Jacob Hiss. His house, built in 1827, is still standing and in use as a residence. This home was the center for social gatherings and people came to the estate from distances as far away as Philadelphia.

 

After the Civil War few plantations were still functioning in the Parkville vacinity. The prevailing industry was truck farming, mostly by Germans. Baltimore and Harford Turnpike was narrow and of gravel constuction. It was a toll road. It took five or six hours to ride between Parkville and the Port of Baltimore. Inns, also known as Mile Houses, served travelers as refreshment stops. They did not offer over-night accomodation.

 

The present Parkville owes its existence to Simon Jonas Martinet. As the city surveyor of Baltimore in 1874, he purchased at a trustee's sale, 35 acres and two rods of land, more or less, which he named Parkville. The original boundaries extended from Linganore Avenue to Linwood Avenue and from Old Harford Road to Harford road. Martenet donated a plot of ground in the center of Taylor Avenue to the people of Parkville with the stipulation that it always be used as a park.

 

The first public school was erected in 1846 for a farming community. The school was a small wooden building heated by a wooden stove. In 1872 another frame building was erected with three large rooms to accomodate the increasing enrollment. Other additions were added as time went on and 1917 a portable building which took care of two classes became a part of the complex.

 

Other public services included a public library established in the school in 1883. By 1917 a small catalog of book titles was printed. A volunteer fire department was added with its horse-drawn fire engine. The fire department did not acquire a motor engine until 1920. Various businesses flourished as the Parkville area became more populated. A Dry Goods store run by Mrs. Gonce was situated next to the fire house. A hotel was built on the corner of Harford Road and Alden Road by August Kilchenstein. Bakeries, shoe repair shops, a blacksmith's shop and others dotted the area.

 

The first church in Parkville was the Hiss Methodist Church. It was dedicated in 1842 and was named for the Hiss family who donated the land for the building. Saint John's Luthern Church followed in 1887.
 

Researched by Donald and Pat Marani for the Parkville Centennial Reporter