Jennifer K. Cosham
10501, Falls Road (MD 25), Lutherville-Timonium, Baltimore County
The Valley Inn is a stone structure, 2 1/2 stories in height, six bays in length, its principal façade to the south facing the former railroad, its west end close to Falls Road. Extending north from its west end is a 2-story shed-roofed wing, 3 bays in length, its taller west wall continuous and flush with the west end wall of the principal structure. The wing is contemporary with the principal structures, indicated by the unbroken stonework of the continuous west wall, the absence of a stone wall between the two sections, the detailing of both sections, and the functional requirements of both sections together. Built as a combined commercial and residential structure, the wing contained a public room in its first story with a kitchen in the basement below. The general form of the structure and its details indicate it to be a transitional building, dating from circa 1830-1840, with only slight influence of current style.
The Valley Inn was originally known as Brooklandville House. Its history is closely associated with the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad which crossed the property just to the south. Constructed in 1832, the Green Spring Valley branch was one of the first railroad lines in the United States. Its regular service was by horse-drawn carriage for almost 20 years until steam locomotives came into use. John R. Gwynn opened a tavern in this stone building, advertising it in 1832. The architecture of the Inn illustrates its special uses. The front entrance was on the south, facing the train tracks. The first floor had no central hallway as in a dwelling, and the details of woodwork and mouldings were simple as befits a commercial establishment. There was a tavern room which opened directly on Falls Road, and in the basement below it was the kitchen with its large cooking fireplace. At one time, there was also a post office in the Inn. During Prohibition, the Inn was used as a tearoom and a small branch of Abercrombie and Fitch, the New York sporting goods store, but this venture only lasted a short time. When Prohibition was repealed, the owners returned it to its original use as a restaurant and tavern.