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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bel Air in Harford County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Historic Bel Air

 
 
Historic Bel Air Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
1. Historic Bel Air Marker
Inscription.
Walking Tour North (60 min)

1. Bel Air Methodist Episcopal Church, 20 North Main Street

2. Graham Crocker House, 30 North Main Street
This nicely preserved building's exterior is typical of the houses constructed during the Jacksonian period both in Bel Air and in the nearby countryside. Built circa 1825, it is the third oldest house in town.
3. James-Kennedy House, 108 N. Bond Street
Built in 1914, this house is typical of the many shotgun style units in this part of Bel Air. The style got its name because "one could fire a shotgun through all the rooms in a row."
4. Alice Anne & Williams Streets
From the last decades of the 19th century into the early 20th, modest utilitarian housing was constructed along this street. Built by workmen for their own lining quarters or built for rental properties, thy are part of a larger national picture.
5. The Wren Box, 304 Williams Street
This charming Colonial Revival cottage, built in 1917 for Josephine Amos, features stone from Lake Fanny Hill as well as classic Doric columns.
6. Liriodendron, 502
Historic Bel Air Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
2. Historic Bel Air Marker
West Gordon Street

Liriodendron was the summer retreat for Hopkins surgeon and noted member of the Big Four, Dr. Howard Kelly and his family. Its ample proportions and high style of design suggest the way of life of the wealthy at the turn of the 20th century.
7. The Reckord Mill, 432 Rockspring Avenue
The Reckord Industrial complex, started in 1886, was composed of a mill, an office, a warehouse and a shed. For Bel Air the complex is historically important both in architecture and in economics.
8. First Presbyteria (sic) Church, 224 N. Main Street
This attractive Gothic Revival church was designed by architect George Archer, a Harford native with a professional practice in Baltimore. The original 1881 structure burned in 1936, but was rebuilt that same year using the original blueprints.
9. Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Main Street and Broadway
Wyatt and Nolting, a prominent Baltimore architectural firm, designed the church in 1896. Although it is called Gothic Revival, there is much of the Romanesque in it.
10. East Broadway
This was the tree-lined street where Bel Air families of substance lived and local master builders set a dignified pattern for the residences in the 19th century. We call it Victorian; although there were Queen Anne designs and Colonial Revival features here and there.
11. The
Map of Walking Tours image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
3. Map of Walking Tours
Proctor House, 54 East Gordon Street

This is one of the most unusual residences in Town. Built in 1865, it is classified as Carpenter Gothic in style and features a unique board and batten construction.
12. Bel Air Academy, 45 E. Gordon Street
This was the first brick school building in Harford County. The first portion was constructed in 1882 when the original Bel Air Academy was absorbed into the public school system.
13. Bel Air Post Office, 143 N. Main Street
Built in 1936 as part of the Roosevelt Administration's WPA efforts to revive the economy during the Depression era, the building now houses the Historical Society of Harford County.
14. Hopkins House, 141 North Main Street
John Thomas Chew Hopkins built this handsome Victorian house for his southern bride in 1879. His wealth and position dictated its large size and original features, and his refined taste prevented any inappropriate ostentation.

Walking Tour South (30 min)
1. Harford County Courthouse and Square, South Main Street

Courthouse Square is the hub and heart of Bel Air life that differentiates it from other Harford towns. Bel Air has had a courthouse since 1791. The present building was erected after a fire in 1858 and was enlarged in 1904 and again in 1981.
The square has buildings on either side (West Courtland

Main Street image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
4. Main Street
Main Street before World War I, notice the head in parking. The storefronts remain mainly the same.
and Office Streets) that, through adaptive reuse, accommodate banking, legal, civic and commercial interest. Most date from the post-Civil War period with numerous later additions and renovations.
2. Bel Air Armory, 37 N. Main Street
The Armory resembles a medieval castle with all the effects needed to make it appear permanent and impregnable. The rusticated exterior, built of Port Deposit granite, features two great octagonal towers with cobrels and battlements and between them is a wide segmental-arched portal.
3. Bel Air Academy, 24 East Pennsylvania Avenue
Built in 1814, many important countians attended this school for their classical education. It was originally an unadorned four-bay structure with the door in the far left bay and the indispensable school bell in a lantern on the ridge pole.
4. Odd Fellows Lodge (First Presbyterian Church), 21 East Pennsylvania Avenue
This Greek Revival building was built in 1852 when the style had swept the country (how-to pattern books helped the proliferation), it was the only Greek temple facade design in Bel Air.
5. Fulford Cottage, 20 E. Fulford Avenue
The Little Stone House, as it is known, was originally a carriage house or stable and later a soft drink bottling plant; then it served numerous other functions. The date of construction is uncertain with guesses ranging
Getz Drug Store on Office Street image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
5. Getz Drug Store on Office Street
from 1789 to 1823.
6. Van Bibber House, 303 S. Main Street
This building is the oldest in Town still on its original site. Built by John Bull in 1789 in a three-bay, side-hall plan of two stories. The Van Bibber House has functioned as a residence, a female seminary, a Presbyterian manse, a surgery and an office building.
7. Hays House, 324 Kenmore Avenue
Built in 1788 by John Bull, and enlarged by Thomas Hays in 1814, this is the oldest house in Bel Air. A portion of the house was moved to its present site in 1960, leaving the 2 story stone ell Hays addition to demolition. It was registered as a National Historic site in 1980 and now serves as a house museum.
8. Bel Air Colored High School, 205 Hays Street
This utilitarian frame structure, partially funded by the Rosenwald Foundation, was built as a grade school in 1924. In 1935, it became Bel Air's high school for African Americans. The building, now owned by Harford County, is used for meetings and displahy purposes.
9. Hanway-Archer-Forwood House 200 South Main Street
This Queen Anne style was designed and built in 1901 b Henry D. Hanway, an innkeeper. Similar structures once lined Main Street but were lost in the mid-20th century as the area became a larger commercial center.
10. First Aegis Building, 119 S. Main Street
In 1871, the publishers
Country Club Inn, formerly the Eagle Hotel (front view) as it appeared in the 1920s. image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
6. Country Club Inn, formerly the Eagle Hotel (front view) as it appeared in the 1920s.
of The Aegis built this structure to meed the needs of its expanding newspaper circulation. The paper operated from this location until 1905 when it moved to a larger building on Courtland Street.
11. Office & Courtland Streets
The buildings lining these streets provided the center point for Bel Air's political, economic and social life; housing lawyers, factors, inns and banks from the Town's earliest days to the present.
 
Location. 39° 32.163′ N, 76° 20.92′ W. Marker is in Bel Air, Maryland, in Harford County. Marker is on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is across the street from the Court House. Marker is in this post office area: Bel Air MD 21014, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bel Air (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Bel Air (within shouting distance of this marker); Sacred to the Memory of the Men of Harford County (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); "The Door" (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Historic Bel Air (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Grateful Recognition (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Hays House (approx. mile away); Built 1898 Liriodendron (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bel Air.
 
Stagmer's Hotel image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
7. Stagmer's Hotel
Stagmer's Hotel, corner of Courtland Street and Main Street (now a bail bond business), was the stagecoach stop next to the Court House, where service was provided for coaches traveling to Edgewood, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Main Street before 1972 image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 30, 2017
8. Main Street before 1972
View of Main Street before the fire in 1972 which destroyed the Vaughn Hotel. This is where the Tower Restaurant is today formerly the Red Fox Restaurant.
Bel Air Police Chief Vaughn McMahon on Bond Street at Alice Anne Street. image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
9. Bel Air Police Chief Vaughn McMahon on Bond Street at Alice Anne Street.
Yew Tree Inn image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
10. Yew Tree Inn
Demolished in 1952 to make way for the new Harford Mutual Insurance Building on Main and Gordon Streets, the Yew Tree Inn was a popular hotel near the Ma & Pa Station.
Warren's Restaurant was located on the corner of Office and Main Streets, now used for offices. image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
11. Warren's Restaurant was located on the corner of Office and Main Streets, now used for offices.
Emmorton Road image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
12. Emmorton Road
Emmorton Road was farmland until the early 1950's when school construction started on this farm parcel.
Court House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
13. Court House
The 1858-59 Court House was built soon after the original building was destroyed by fire.
Pennsylvania & Main image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
14. Pennsylvania & Main
The corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Main Street where old storefronts were demolished making way for Woolworth's and Bata Shoe, now Buontempo Brothers and Frederick Ward Associates' buildings.
Telephone comes to Bel Air image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, June 21, 2017
15. Telephone comes to Bel Air
The Baltimore and Bel Air Telephone Company brought phone service to Bel Air in 1898. This is an ad for the new "device".
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 21, 2017. This page originally submitted on June 30, 2017, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 80 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on June 30, 2017, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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