Willow Grove Farm

History

In 1993, the 179 acre Willow Grove farm and another 38 acre parcel near Loch Raven Rd were purchased by the State of Maryland from the Robert Merrick estate, ending a plan to develop the valley into residences. The State then leased the land to Baltimore County to be used as a park. Robert and William Merrick had obtained the major portion of it in 1943.

The earliest records of the land ownership in the valley is a suvey of "Fellowship", a tract granted to Luke Raven in 1710, on the north side of "Setter Hill Run", as the Minebank was originally known; and "Venture Not", a tract granted to Samuel Stansbury in 1744. "Fellowship" was resurveyed and enlarged for Abraham Raven in 1755. By 1848, much of the area was in the possession on John Plaskitt who died in 1867 when part of his land went to Michael Bannon, then to Nicholas Burke in 1871, and to Arthur Shanklin in 1876.

Arthur's father John Shanklin had already acquired parts of the valley in this area starting in 1838 from his mother Elizabeth (Bosley) Shanklin. John died in 1883, after which some of this land passed to his son Arthur.

It is hard to trace the exact property boundaries in the early days, as many surveys overlapped, some of the deeds do not contain "metes and bounds" descriptions of the land being conveyed, and bits and pieces were conveyed in various ways.

Facilities

The following structures and items of interest are located on the Willow Grove Farm part of the Park:

Nature Education Center (Merrick House)
Outdoor classroom
Nature Discovery Zone
Children's Garden
Cemetery
Lime Kilns
Log House
Barn/Cider House

(We'll be adding descriptions and pages for each of these.)