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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Goucher College
Inventory No.: BA-1484
Date Listed: 8/28/2007
Location: 1021 Dulaney Valley Road (MD 146), Towson, Baltimore County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1921, 1938, 1942, 1952, 1954
Architect/Builder: Architect: Moore & Hutchins
Description: Having outgrown its 1880s campus in Baltimore City, Goucher College, guided by the foresight of President Guth, bought 421 acres of land in 1921 with the intention of erecting a new campus on the site of the 18th-19th century estate, Epsom, north of Towson. The architectural firm, Moore & Hutchins, of New York, won the 1938 competition for the general development plan. The company remained the campus architects until the mid 1950s. At the time of construction, only outbuildings ringed the site with only ruins remaining of the grand Epsom estate. Taking their cues from rural vernacular dwellings in Maryland, the overall building style is modern but more in keeping with prairie style than the International style. The use of indigenous materials and natural materials including local stone for the wells, tile or slate for the roofing material, wood accents and trim, and metal windows were seen as economical while still respecting the desires of the College. The buildings are void of unnecessary ornamentation, letting the beauty of the materials and the simple lines of the buildings stand on their own merit. The buildings appear to hug the ground, being more horizontal than vertical, with low sloping hipped roofs. The emphasis on natural lighting allows the window design and placement to add character while alluding to the different uses in the building. There is a masculine character to the buildings in their large proportions and simplicity, but this is broken by the introduction of intimately scaled elements such as the Froelicher courtyard, and the balconies on several residence halls. The materials chosen for use on the main campus buildings were a local stone (gneiss) veneer on walls of either concrete block or reinforced concrete, ceramic tile for roofing material, wood siding/accents, and metal windows. Newer buildings have tended to maintain this material palette, though the proportions of stone especially have become less as the price has increased. The overall building proportions and style of the new construction have also remained respectful to the original Moore and Hutchins' buildings. Other resources on the property, not part of the Moore and Hutchins design, include a late 18th-early 19th century cannon found on the property during construction of the Julia Rogers Library c. 1950. The cannon was probably from a former 19th-century armory which stood on the corner of Dulaney Valley Road and Joppa Road. The cannon, listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, is now located near the Hoffberger Science Building. An early 19th-century springhouse associated with the Epsom estate is constructed of stone with a gable roof. Significance: Goucher College is a small private coeducational institution located just within the Baltimore Beltway in Towson. It is the second campus for what started as a women's college founded by the Lovely Lane Methodist Church in Baltimore in 1885. The Towson property was purchased in 1921 and a "by invitation" architectural competition, approved by the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was held in 1938 for design of the overall campus plan and the library. The entrant list reads as a "who's who" of the architectural world with representatives from the new Modern movement as well as architects with more traditional design philosophies. The winner of the competition, Moore and Hutchins, went on to design more than nine buildings on the campus and played an active role in the master planning for future campus development until about 1956. Their building designs, while modern in philosophy, take cues from the indigenous materials of the area and the vernacular architecture of Maryland. It is to their credit that the buildings designed by Moore and Hutchins remain in use with their original functions and maintain a high level of integrity. As a result, Goucher College is significant for reflecting the architectural merit of the overall campus. In addition, Goucher College played a dominant role in the higher education of women in the Baltimore region. Originally housing both a preparatory secondary school and college, it was one of two institutes for the higher education of women in Baltimore chartered in the latter part of the 19th century that survive today. Goucher College was the first women's college south of the Mason-Dixon line to receive accreditation. Its progressive, forward thinking philosophy of education was to be of comparable in both subject matter and quality to that found at a men's college or university. Therefore, Goucher College derives additional significance for its contributions to the higher education movement of women.
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