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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Bare Hills Historic District
Inventory No.: BA-2998
Other Name(s): Bare Hills; The Barrens
Date Listed: 11/22/2011
Location: Falls Road (MD 25) between Light Rail to just north of Coppermine Terrace, Bare Hills, Baltimore County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1730-1961
Description: The Bare Hills Historic District, covering approximately 275 acres, takes its name from the geological formation it in part encompasses, a promontory of Serpentine (“copper rock”) around which the Jones Falls flows on its way to Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. The district contains 90 properties, some with multiple components, representing the development of the Bare Hills from its mining and industrial beginnings to its residential development along the Falls Turnpike and the Green Spring Branch and Northern Central Railroads providing commuter service into Baltimore. The 19th-20th century African American Scott Settlement, a cluster of frame houses on small lots adjacent to the turnpike; late 19th and 20th century residential development along the railroad and Lake Roland; and Robert E. Lee Park, a wooded landscape on the side of the undeveloped 1898 Sorrento subdivision combine to make up this historic district. Visually, the Bare Hills Historic District is characterized by the integration of various sizes, types and styles of construction spanning almost a century and a half of development. Within the wooded environment, most of the houses are of frame construction, many of them gable fronted, with wood-shingled walls, porches, and with foundations constructed of the local Serpentine stone. The majority of houses and their support buildings date from 1890 to 1920, but there are significant examples both earlier and later, such as the individually National Register-listed Gothic Revival Bare Hills House built in 1857, the 1881 serpentine stone Bare Hills School, and the Mid-Century Modern Hooper House II, designed by Marcel Breuer and constructed in 1959-60. Significance: The Bare Hills Historic District is historically significant for its representation of the process of community development over time as it relates to the milling and mining industries of the Bare Hills are of Baltimore County, Maryland and the associated transportation corridors of the Falls Road/Turnpike and Green Spring Branch Railroad. The fertile soils of Baltimore County provided the produce that fed the mills along the powerful watercourse know as Jones Falls, but the mineral rich rock formation that forced the Jones Falls into its sweeping arc around the Bare Hills left the area with thin soils, sparse vegetation, and its “Bare Hills” moniker. The Bare Hills geology, the source of chromite and copper, and a distinctive green building stone called serpentine, produced a legacy of mining and quarrying that gives the area its unique character. Both milling and mining were significant factors in the development of the road and rail transportation through the Jones Falls Valley. The presence of both industry and transportation shaped the early phases of community development in the Bare Hills area. After the creation of Lake Roland in 1861, development around the Bare Hills centered on the scenic rural landscape and the convenience of railroad transportation to and from Baltimore City. The Bare Hills Historic District gains additional historical significance in the area of Ethnic Heritage relating to the African-American community known as the “Scott Settlement,” recognized as one of the earliest free-black communities in Baltimore County. Established by Aquila Scott about 1830 and still occupied by many Scott family descendants, the people and buildings of the Scott Settlement have been an integral component of the Bare Hills community and its associated developmental history for more than 180 years. The Bare Hills Historic District is architecturally significant for its collection of largely vernacular representations of popular architectural styles from the later 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The district also includes several distinctive architectural examples such as the Gothic Revival Bare Hills House, the Bauhaus-inspired Hooper House II designed by architect Marcel Breuer, and the serpentine stone Bare Hills School.
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