Elkridge in Howard County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Back to Nature in the Patapsco Valley
"[On] any weekend [you] will find from 20 to 25 of our faithful band of Gypsies enjoying nature to its fullest extent Enjoying watching the change in foliage from week to week, taking dips in the old Patapsco river in spite of frost, getting up at 4 A. M. to watch the daybreak, walking eight miles to church in the morning and chopping wood, preparing meals, washing dishes and taking trips through the reserve during the day." - The Baltimore Sun, October 29, 1916
While the Patapsco Valley had proved well-suited for industrial development in the 18th and 19th centuries, it has proved ideal for recreational use in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Patapsco Valley's transformation into a public park began in 1907 when Catonsville resident John M. Glenn donated 43 acres of his Hilton Estate to the Maryland State Board of Forestry.
State Forester Fred W. Besley recognized the valley's potential as a public park. By promoting the Patapsco as a park, he hoped to lure Baltimore residents out of their hot row homes into the cooler, tree-covered river valley. He hoped to show them firsthand the benefits
By 1913, families were riding the railroad or driving on backcountry roads to picnic and camp near the river. Some visited for an afternoon, others roughed it for six months. Anyone could camp in the park for free, provided they observed the strict fire regulations and registered with the State Forester's Office, or the B&O railroad.
From these humble origins sprang Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland's first state park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Entertainment • Environment • Sports. A significant historical month for this entry is October 1845.
Location. 39° 14.458′ N, 76° 45.007′ W. Marker is in Elkridge, Maryland, in Howard County. Marker is on Ridge Road, on the right when traveling east. In the Orange Grove Area of Patapsco Valley State Park, at the head of the Cascade Falls Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elkridge MD 21075, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Orange Grove: A Small Neighborly Community (here, next to this marker); Besley Demonstration Campsite (here, next to this marker); Patapsco Superlative: (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Building America's First RailroadThe Destructive Power of the Patapsco (approx. 0.6 miles away); The River Makes Electricity (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Changing River Valley (approx. one mile away); Bringing Trade to Baltimore (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elkridge.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 27, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 418 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on May 11, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on April 27, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.