Greg Alexander

Architectural Gems Open Doors in Glencoe

Mason-Dixon Arrive, May 2007

The 70th annual Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage’s (MHGP) statewide home tour continues this month with a stop in Baltimore County’s historic Glencoe on Saturday, May 12 from 10am to 5pm. While all the segments of the MHGP’s tour are fascinating, what makes the Baltimore County one truly unique is the mélange of different structures - everything from a 230-plus-year-old farm to the smallest post office in the United States to the home of the inventor of shredded wheat.

"The Baltimore County tour is filled with variety: beautifully restored homes, pastoral settings, historic landmarks and volumes of history - including the fascinating and tragic life and times of cereal inventor and businessman, Henry D. Perky. Our Baltimore County Pilgrimage Committee has done a terrific job in planning a tour that will have wide appeal," says Frederica Struse, chairperson of the MHGP, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of architecturally significant properties in the state of Maryland.

Hilles Whedbee, co-chairperson of the Baltimore County tour, who also serves on the central committee, says that - as always - sites selected for this year’tour were ones that have special historical significance. "Obviously, a goal each year is to have a great turnout so that we can raise substantial funds to aid in historic preservation and restoration. In order for us to get people to come out here to the country," she laughs, "we needed homes and other sites that have historical significance and substantial curb appeal. We wanted homes that when people drive by them, they say, ‘Wow, what a great home; I’d love to get inside of that one.’ We had to find homes that are accessible and will be interesting to attendees, and I believe we’ve done just that." Whedbee, who grew up in nearby Sparks, says that her home near Glencoe has been on the MHGP tours a number of times in the past.

"The great thing about the MHGP tours is that since they have been around for so long, there is a certain recognition to them. So, when I picked up the phone to try to get people and organizations to open up their homes, it was not too terribly difficult. Since it’s one of the oldest tours, people are familiar with it and appreciate the goal of the tour each year.";

In addition to offering visitors the opportunity to see the inside of some of the state’s most extraordinary historical sites, the MHGP also offers tour participants the chance to support a worthy cause. Each segment of the tour chooses a project; in Baltimore County, ticket sales will support the historic preservation project currently underway at the Immanuel Episcopal Church, a small parish currently celebrating its 135th anniversary. Major renovations to the chapel are planned that will return the structure to its original beauty. Over the past years, the MHGP has raised well over a million dollars for the preservation and restoration of architecturally and historically significant properties throughout the state while entertaining and informing many thousands of tour-goers.

"What makes the MHGP tour different than many other home tours is that the money raised goes directly to historic preservation and restoration. In Glencoe, as well as the state of Maryland in general, people are passionate about historic preservation, so being able to attend a tour while also helping this cause is a draw," says Whedbee.

So, just what can tour participants expect when they attend the Baltimore County tour?

Some of the highlights include the 233-yearold River Run Farm, which dates back to 1774 and is located on the Gunpowder River; Glencoe, built between 1851-1856 with the current owners residing there for over 50 years; Original Glencoe House, built in 1870 as a summer house and featuring a significant collection of contemporary Maryland art and an original print of the historic Glencoe area; Immanuel Episcopal Church, built in 1871; Old House, a former school house that was Maryland’s first girls’ boarding school called Oldfields School; Glencoe Post Office, a former post office that is now part of the Oldfields campus; and Oread, an 180-foot wide structure built by Henry D. Perky, who invented shredded wheat.


Tickets may be purchased for $25 through the MHGP Office by calling 821-6933. Day-of tickets may be purchased at Immanuel Church. A box lunch for $12 will be available at Immanuel Church Parish Hall from 11am to 2pm. Lunch reservations are required; call Joan Cookson at 410-465-9076 or Dean Routson at 410-889-3491 by May 5. Parking and restrooms are also available at the church.

Tour held rain or shine; interior photographs, pets and high-heeled shoes are not allowed. For more information, visit mhgp. org or call MHGP at 410- 821-6933.

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