A Brief History of the Parkville/Carney Area
In 1874, a prominent Baltimore surveyor, Simon Jonas Martenet purchased “35 acres and two rods of land, more or less” at a trustee’s sale. He then advertised residential sites as “one of the healthiest and pleasantest locations near Baltimore.” The land was named Parkville for a plot of land which Martenet donated to the people with the stipulation that it always remain a park. The designated 360 ft. park area is still located in the center of present day Taylor Avenue between Oak and Chestnut Avenues. Parkville extended from what is now Old Harford Road to Harford Road, and from Linwood Avenue to Linganore Avenue.
Harford Road, the “main street” of Parkville, was originally an Indian trail. During Colonial times, the Baltimore and Harford Turnpike, as it was then called, was connected to Philadelphia Road and therefore served as a thoroughfare for northern and southern colonies. In 1773, the first stagecoach made the Baltimore and Harford Turnpike its regular route between Philadelphia and Baltimore. General Washington and the Continental Army troops accessed this road to the Yorktown victory that ended the Revolutionary War.
Today, Parkville includes part of Joppa Road, which is the oldest road in Maryland. It was a trail used by the Susquehannocks long before the arrival of the first Maryland colonists. It eventually became a major east-west route in Baltimore County.
Parkville land had originally been surveyed in 1735 as part of a tract called Grindon. Much of this land was also referred to as Lavender Hill due to its post office designation. The area consisted of large estates up to the time of the Civil War. Eventually it became a rural community of smaller truck farms owned by German immigrants. Today, many streets in Parkville bear the names of early property owners, such as Sonn, Mann, Neifield, Radar, Wildberger, Harris, and Hiss to name a few.
In its early days, Parkville grew slowly. However, even as a small community, people pulled together to help one another and to improve the quality of life for its citizens. This is evident by the formation of a volunteer fire department in 1911. Beginning with just a hand-drawn hose reel, the fire company was soon able to purchase a horse drawn ladder truck. Horses belonging to the local Kilchenstein and Wagner families were used to pull the truck to the fires. The Kilchenstein family also donated land on the north side of Taylor Avenue for a firehouse. (The original bell from the bell tower is now displayed on the grounds of the present firehouse on Putty Hill Avenue.) Men from the community served as the firefighters, while women and children also gave their support. The Ladies Auxiliary raised money assisting at dances and carnivals to benefit the fire company. The Junior Fire Department, composed of boys nine and older, helped by pulling the hose reel if the fire was nearby. In 1918 the fire company purchased its first motor truck.
The civic-minded concern continued as an increasing number of families made Parkville their home during the years immediately following World War II. The Parkville Lions Club, which was founded in 1944 by local clerical, professional, and business organizations, was a significant positive force in the community. One of its earliest and largest projects was to purchase 43 acres of land in 1946. This land became Double Rock Park (named for the twin boulders along side of the stream), and was donated to the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks in 1952.
Also in 1952, the lions Club of Baltimore launched the formation of the Greater Parkville Community Council (GPCC). The purpose of this organization was to preserve and improve the general health of a rapidly expanding community. Among its accomplishments, were public improvements such as the local library (established in 1961 and settled in its present location in 1971), the police and fire station (dedicated in 1954), an auditorium in the Senior High School (opened in 1953, now the Middle School), and the post office (built in 1962).
In addition to its civic pride, Parkville boasts four historical land-marks. They are as follows:
The Parkville Park became a historical landmark in July 1998, due to the efforts of the Parkville Park Community Association. Residents were concerned that the park get the recognition and protection it deserved. The Parkville Park, located west of Harford Road in the center of Taylor Avenue is the namesake and centerpiece of the community. It represents the community’s spirit and pride, and is a vital link to Parkville’s culture and historical heritage. It was donated to the original community by its founder, Simon Jonas Martenet, with the specific stipulation that it always remain a park.
Martcnet was a respected Baltimore citizen and businessman. In 1867, a large map and atlas of Maryland, that carry his name, were published. They are recognized as the standard representature of the geography of the state. Martenet also served as the City of Baltimore surveyor in 1867. After skipping one term, he was reelected and served for ten years.
In 1952, the Parkville American Legion built a monument to veterans in the center of the Parkville Park. In 1996, the Parkville Park Community Association was awarded money from Baltimore County to initiate the enhancement of the park’s appearance. This first phase involved landscaping with trees, shrubs, and perennials.
The Hiss House located at 3209 Willoughby Road was built in the 18th century. Jacob and Elizabeth Hiss resided at this house immediately following their marriage in 1786. According to the Parkville Centennial Reporter, an obituary states that the house was given to them, perhaps by Jacob’s parents, Valentine and Christine Hiss. Made of stucco and stone over walls of hand-hewn logs, it has three double chimneys and seven fireplaces.
Sixteen children were born to Jacob and Elizabeth in their home. One son, William raised his three children in the family home also. In 1908, the last of Jacob’s children, Hester Ann died and was buried in the family cemetery behind the house. For over a century Hiss family members lived in this house. In 1842, Jacob’s son William and four of his sisters donated land for the Hiss Methodist Church on Harford Road.
The Cub Hill House located at Old Harford Road and Summit Avenue was built in the 18th century of local stone. It is a five-bay- wide, two-story Federal style house. The land on which the house was built was known as Cub Hill since 1695 when it was surveyed for William Burgess. In 1783 Nicholas Brittons became the owner of the property, which was passed to his son, Richard B. Brittons in 1798. He rented the four buildings on the property including the Cub Hill House.
The Krause Memorial Limestone Kiln is a stone stack or oven-like structure built into a hillside on Old Harford Road. The kiln may have originally been part of the Cub Hill estate. The stonework and design are elegant for kilns, which were most often straight up and down walls. This 19th century kiln has a concave face and a round arch of large stones. The opening of the arch is 4 feet 2 inches in height and 6 feet wide. Limestone was dropped into a top vent of the kiln where it was burned, creating a powdered lime, a key ingredient in bricklaying in the late 18th and 19th centuries.