James T. Wollon, Jr.
St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
260, St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills, Baltimore County
The original section of St. Thomas' Episcopal Church was constructed in 1743. This rectangular building, constructed of salmon red brick, measured 56' long and 36' wide. Eight round-arched windows light the building, four along the north wall and four along the south. The top section of each window is of diamond-patterned, leaded, clear, hand-blown glass. The bottom section has a rectangular glass pattern with wooden mullions. The windows retain much of their original 1743 glass. The original door of the church stood on the south wall, but was blocked off in the late 19th century and replaced with a door on the west wall. Originally, there were four small windows and a door on the west wall, but owing to the addition of the narthex in 1970, these windows are no longer to be seen. The original church has a very wide brick paved aisle, flanked by numbered box pews. In 1890, a chancel and transepts were added to the east gable end, rendering the church cruciform in shape, and showing Gothic revival influence. While the original portion was Georgian, the addition was an attempt to conform with the Gothic style then in vogue. The brick aisle was continued into the new addition. The small, barrel-shaped chancel has three large windows in the end. In 1893, the John LaFarge studios of New York installed stained glass windows depicting the Ascension. The windows are in the opaque Victorian style. In both transepts is a rose window in brown and clear panes of stained glass. In 1970, a major restoration of the church was undertaken, including the additions of a basement, and a gallery and narthex added to the west wall of the church. The narthex provides an entrance to the church and entrance to the basement. Not far from the church stands the parish hall, constructed in 1877, which was added to in the 1920s and 1950s to provide offices and Sunday school rooms.
Construction of St. Thomas' Church is one of the indications that population had increased in the Garrison Forest area, which had been uninhabited when the Garrison Fort was established in 1695. The parish found itself with 675 taxable persons when it was formed, and the total population may have been about 1,350. The history of the church is well documented by surviving records, and some details of its construction are available. It is further significant as a building of fairly ambitious proportions for its period and its remote location.