The Historical Society of Harford County Inc

The Historical Society of Harford County Inc An organization whose mission is to collect, preserve, present, promote, & interpret the rich and diverse history of Harford County. To help with the societies mission, please visit our webpage and click ‘Donate’ in the top right corner of the page.
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The Historical Society of Harford County welcomes individuals, families, and organizations of all backgrounds, ages, and degrees of interest and involvement. The only requisite for membership is a genuine commitment to the county and its people, and the payment of annual dues (a portion of which is tax deductible). The Society encourages all members to become as active as they can. The Society is run mostly by volunteers. Members get the occasional Bulletin, meeting notices, use of the all Society research collections, admission to the Hays House Museum, Headquarters museum, advanced invitations to Society dinners, programs, and activities, and the Newsletter free

The Historical Society of Harford County welcomes individuals, families, and organizations of all backgrounds, ages, and degrees of interest and involvement. The only requisite for membership is a genuine commitment to the county and its people, and the payment of annual dues (a portion of which is tax deductible). The Society encourages all members to become as active as they can. The Society is run mostly by volunteers. Members get the occasional Bulletin, meeting notices, use of the all Society research collections, admission to the Hays House Museum, Headquarters museum, advanced invitations to Society dinners, programs, and activities, and the Newsletter free

Mission: The Historical society of Harford County, Inc. collects, preserves, promotes, and interprets the rich and diverse history of the Harford County area in its regional context from prehistoric origins to the present for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.

Operating as usual

Photographs are starting to arrive and each one has a unique story to tell.  To make it easier for you to post your phot...
09/11/2020

Photographs are starting to arrive and each one has a unique story to tell. To make it easier for you to post your photographs, please email them to [email protected] and include a brief description of the photo so we can share with our followers. We hope to add new photos each Friday.

Today’s picture is from the Historical Society’s collection and captures the Kelly orchard that once stood where the Howard Park subdivision is situated today.

This photo was posted by Helen Smith Braun.This picture was taken in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Third grade class, 1949. ...
08/28/2020

This photo was posted by Helen Smith Braun.
This picture was taken in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Third grade class, 1949. I think this School was at the end of Wilson Street. Wilson Street and Bloomsbury. Does anybody remember this?

INTRODUCING PHOTO FRIDAYSIn May, the Society’s Facebook followers enjoyed our "This Place Matters" photographs so much t...
08/18/2020

INTRODUCING PHOTO FRIDAYS

In May, the Society’s Facebook followers enjoyed our "This Place Matters" photographs so much that we decided to continue the program, but just a little differently. We are inviting members to share their photos of Harford County’s historic places, people and events with us. Each month we will introduce a new topic and invite you to share your historic photos with us on our page each Friday.

Harford County has a fascinating horse racing history with two major race tracks and many equine breeders, trainers and related industries. Now, the tracks are just a memory but the many legends live on. We encourage you to share photos of the race tracks, the horses and the people who were behind this legendary part of the county’s history.

To start the September Photo Friday project, here are two photographs taken at the Bel Air Race Track showing the grandstand and a parade. We are not sure of the date or the actual event, but encourage you to share your memories of this and other race track events throughout the county, along with photos of some of the famous horses, their owners, trainers and for added fun consider including some of the racing stories from these bygone days.

The Historical Society presents this article highlighting the work of just one of the amazing local people who helped in...
08/17/2020
In Honor of Women’s Equality Day, August 26, 2020 - The Historical Society of Harford County

The Historical Society presents this article highlighting the work of just one of the amazing local people who helped in the fight for Women’s Suffrage.

The Historical Society presents this article highlighting the work of just one of the amazing local people who helped in the fight for Women’s Suffrage. Elizabeth Forbes: Harford County’s “Jailbird” (1882-1971) By Dr. Amy Rosenkrans While the center of Maryland’s suffrage movement was in B...

Sunday, August 30, 2020, at 4PM Online at www.liriodendron.com. This presentation provides an excellent lead in to the H...
08/17/2020
Harriet Tubman Zoom Performance - The Historical Society of Harford County

Sunday, August 30, 2020, at 4PM Online at www.liriodendron.com.

This presentation provides an excellent lead in to the Historical Society’s September Civil War program – Divided Union Harford

Presentations by author/historian Jeffrey Smart.

Sunday, August 30, 2020, 4 pm Online at www.liriodendron.com This presentation provides an excellent lead in to the Historical Society’s September Civil War program – Divided Union Harford Presentations by author/historian Jeffrey Smart.

Trailblazing Women of Architecture in Maryland - hosted by The Liriodendron Mansion  The Historical Society hoped to fea...
08/10/2020
Trailblazing Women of Architecture in Maryland - The Historical Society of Harford County

Trailblazing Women of Architecture in Maryland - hosted by The Liriodendron Mansion

The Historical Society hoped to feature a number of programs to honor Maryland’s Year of the Woman, but Covid-19 made this very difficult and most of our programs had to be canceled. Not all is lost, however. On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the date set nationally as Women’s Equality Day, the Society will post a special tribute to some Harford County women who helped gain the vote for women. This is a very special story and we hope you will check the website to learn more about these amazing women.

The Historical Society hoped to feature a number of programs to honor Maryland’s Year of the Woman, but Covid-19 made this very difficult and most of our programs had to be canceled. Not all is lost, however. On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the date set nationally as Women’s Equality Day, the Soc...

Bon Air – Fallston MarylandClaude Francois Frederick de la Porte , a French Count and colonel purchased 200 acres overlo...
07/27/2020

Bon Air – Fallston Maryland

Claude Francois Frederick de la Porte , a French Count and colonel purchased 200 acres overlooking Laurel Brook in 1793 where they built this beautiful French style house with its hipped roof, courtyard and unique construction details. Monsieur de La Porte first visited Harford County during the Revolutionary War with General Lafayette’s army.

Steppingstone Farm Museum
07/20/2020

Steppingstone Farm Museum

We're just gonna leave this here...

The Historical Society of Harford County, thanks to its many volunteers and benefactors, maintains a record of the Count...
07/17/2020

The Historical Society of Harford County, thanks to its many volunteers and benefactors, maintains a record of the County’s past and the many people who lived in and contributed to the community. Help us continue the legacy and preserve future generations by making a bequest today. Learn More at www.harfordhistory.org/support-us/the-lasting-legacy-program/

Harford's Heritage
07/16/2020
Harford's Heritage

Harford's Heritage

John W. McGrain: His Life and Harford History

The Corner of North Main and Lee Streets in Downtown Bel Air.The corner property showed little change from early 1900 un...
07/03/2020

The Corner of North Main and Lee Streets in Downtown Bel Air.

The corner property showed little change from early 1900 until 1968. The two-story paint store held various businesses over the years, including a jewelry store and photographers studio. The entire corner was purchased in 1947 by George F. Harrison who opened a retail paint and supply store in the wooden building, which also contained an apartment for the family. Part of the middle structure was used as a warehouse for the paint store and the rest was rented to various retail businesses over the years including a TV sales and repair shop and a bakery. The house was used as a residence and/or offices at various times. The two corner buildings were demolished in 1968 and replaced by a two story building for an enlarged paint and decorating store and other retail with offices above. The original paint store building was used for various business until it was torn down in 2004.

Governor Larry Hogan
06/19/2020

Governor Larry Hogan

I have issued a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth in Maryland to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and celebrate the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery.

We are reminded of heroes like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, whose legacies are permanently enshrined in the history of our state. May we continue working to realize the vision that they and so many other freedom fighters had for Maryland and for our nation.

The Kurtz family operated this furniture factory in Jarrettsville directly across the street from their Funeral Home on ...
06/18/2020

The Kurtz family operated this furniture factory in Jarrettsville directly across the street from their Funeral Home on Baldwin Mill Road. Furniture customers could request one of a kind pieces or choose from patterns of furniture displayed at the factory. A few of the patterns remain in the Society’s collection. Caskets for the funeral home were also made here for several years. The factory closed many years ago and the funeral home is now operated by the McComas family.

Tarring Hardware: Bel Air Avenue in AberdeenThe Tarring Hardware store in downtown Aberdeen, was a mainstay of the town’...
06/12/2020

Tarring Hardware: Bel Air Avenue in Aberdeen

The Tarring Hardware store in downtown Aberdeen, was a mainstay of the town’s business community. Henry, the owner along with two of his sons, also was the town’s funeral director. In addition to regular hardware items, the store sold stoves and dynamite for the construction industry. The latter item would prove catastrophic. In February 1918 fire broke out in a general store at the corner of Bel Air Avenue and Baltimore Pike (now Route 40) and quickly began spreading to adjacent stores. Fire crews were stymied when they realized the nearest hydrants were frozen. The closet operating water source was across the Pennsylvania (now Amtrac) railroad tracks. They strung hoses but a train came through and cut the hoses. They patched them up but a second train took care of that. The fire raged on and when it got to the Tarring store, it touched off the dynamite. The resulting explosion took out four more buildings before burning out. It took until 1927 before all the buildings were rebuilt.

The Historical Society of Harford County, thanks to its many volunteers and benefactors, maintains a record of the Count...
06/12/2020

The Historical Society of Harford County, thanks to its many volunteers and benefactors, maintains a record of the County’s past and the many people who lived in and contributed to the community. Help us continue the legacy and preserve future generations by making a bequest today. Learn More at www.harfordhistory.org/support-us/the-lasting-legacy-program/

06/10/2020
Harford Community College

Harford Community College

Hays-Heighe House goes online! Well, not the entire house . . . With the closure of campus, Hays-Heighe put its current exhibit, "Harford County: Our Land & Environment," online. Browse Harford County's history of farming, land use, and preservation from your home. https://bit.ly/2MmVSIX

Steppingstone Farm Museum
06/06/2020

Steppingstone Farm Museum

Kicking off in T minus 30 minutes!

St. Ignatius Church was built in 1793 as a mission church. Colonel Ignatius Wheeler contracted Jack Reardon to build the...
05/31/2020

St. Ignatius Church was built in 1793 as a mission church. Colonel Ignatius Wheeler contracted Jack Reardon to build the walls of the church at his own expense. Prior to this, Catholics met at Priest Neale’s house on the south side of Deer Creek. The house still stands today. Together these structures trace the beginnings of Catholicism in Harford County.

The Lafayette Hotel is located near the site of the old ferry and railroad bridge in Havre de Grace. It was built by Joh...
05/30/2020

The Lafayette Hotel is located near the site of the old ferry and railroad bridge in Havre de Grace. It was built by John Rodgers and is now the home of the local American Legion. General Lafayette is said to have stopped here during the American Revolution.

At one time, Bel Air boasted six hotels. One of these, the Vaughn Hotel on Main Street across from the Court House provi...
05/29/2020

At one time, Bel Air boasted six hotels. One of these, the Vaughn Hotel on Main Street across from the Court House provided rooms on the upper floors with Preston’s Stationary, the Red Fox Restaurant, the Main Street Market, Talles Jewelry Store and Smithson’s Barber Shop on the first floor and a bowling alley/recreation center in the basement. The building was destroyed in the 1972 Bel Air fire. Today it is the home of The Tower Restaurant.

The Bel Air Ma & Pa Railroad Station brought prosperity to the town with its opening in the 1880s. Roads at the time wer...
05/28/2020

The Bel Air Ma & Pa Railroad Station brought prosperity to the town with its opening in the 1880s. Roads at the time were very poor and travel was primarily by horse and buggy. With the introduction of rail lines, farmers could now ship goods to the Baltimore and Pennsylvania Markets, mail delivery was expedited, residents could travel to schools and retail establishments outside the county and an industrial complex began to grow around the station. The train ran until 1959. With improved roads trucks and automobiles the meandering train trip lost its charm and profitability. Today the building is gone, and the tracks have been replaced by a hiking trail.

The National Register-listed Hays House, likely built in 1788 with an addition in 1811, is the oldest dwelling in the To...
05/27/2020

The National Register-listed Hays House, likely built in 1788 with an addition in 1811, is the oldest dwelling in the Town of Bel Air. The house was moved from Main Street to its current location in 1960 to save it from demolition to make way for a new supermarket (currently Main Street Centre). Thomas A. Hays, the second owner of the house, drew the earliest known map of the town circa 1818. A re-creation of the house’s original kitchen was constructed in 2001. Today, the house is operated by The Historical Society of Harford County as a living-history museum dedicated to 18th and 19th century life. (The Hays House)

Forming the center of Churchville, the National Register-listed Churchville Presbyterian Church is the oldest Presbyteri...
05/26/2020

Forming the center of Churchville, the National Register-listed Churchville Presbyterian Church is the oldest Presbyterian church in the county. It was built in several phases, starting with the brick gable-roofed center by local builder Elijah Walton in 1820 The second phase, built in 1870 is a restrained Italianate style brick bell tower designed by architect J. Crawford Neilson of the Baltimore architecture firm of Niernsee and Neilson (best known for their work on Camden Station in Baltimore) and pulpit, pews, and wainscoting by local craftsman William Shuck. The church hall, designed by Bel Air architects Alexander Shaw and W. Kendall Duff, was completed in 1950. The adjoining graveyard has burials dating to 1819. Photo courtesy of the Maryland Historical Trust.
(HA-441, Churchville Presbyterian Church and Cemetery, Churchville)

Harford County has a very inspiring military background dating back to the days of the Militia during the American Revol...
05/26/2020

Harford County has a very inspiring military background dating back to the days of the Militia during the American Revolution to those serving in the present day National Guard and the soldiers and civilians working at Aberdeen Proving Ground. This year on Memorial Day we extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who have served in our various military branches and those who continue to keep us safe during the current pandemic. The attached photo tells a great deal about the commitment of county National Guard troops as far back as the 1890s. The picture is of Company D National Guard Bel Air. It was provided by Rick Nicklas and features his great grandfather, William Patton, Patton’s two brothers – Harry and Howard along with their stepfather James (Jim) Ayres. We wish everyone a very happy and healthy Memorial Day weekend.

Mike Dixon, Historian
05/25/2020

Mike Dixon, Historian

Some of my current research is focused on the impact of the Spanish Influenza of 1918 on counties and cities in Maryland, South Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania. While collecting evidence for this investigation, I have been working with reports submitted by Boards of Health during that pandemic.

Here is some preliminary Harford County work. In 1918, the rural county outside of Baltimore reported 832 deaths. An analysis of the previous seven years before the contagion swept into Harford County indicated that around 381 cases of mortality were expected.

Harford County had one of the highest morbidity and mortality cases rates I have examined thus far in counties and cities along the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia to Baltimore. About 2.9 percent of the population died that year. Forty-four percent of Harford's cases occurred at the Filling Station (Edgewood), 18 percent at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and 38 percent throughout civilian areas of the county.

I will pull all of this together in a full report once I have finished analyzing the various Board of Health reports and death certificates.

Grace Methodist Protestant Church, circa 1911, was located on North Main Street In Bel Air. It was a member of the natio...
05/25/2020

Grace Methodist Protestant Church, circa 1911, was located on North Main Street In Bel Air. It was a member of the national Methodist Protestant Church which split from the established Methodist Episcopal Church organization in 1828 over a disagreement in organizational structure. The mother church itself later split into Northern and Southern divisions after the Civil War. They later rejoined to form the United Methodist Church of today and in 1939 the national Methodist Protestant Church merged with the United Methodist Episcopal Church which led to the members of Grace M.P. joining in1942 with Bel Air United Methodist a block south on Main St. In 1946 the church building was taken over by the newly created Harford County Public Library. After the library moved to a new facilities, the church building had various tenants including another church group and a furniture warehouse until It was eventually demolished in the 1980s due to structural problems.

Address

143 N Main St
Bel Air, MD
21014

General information

Hours: Tuesday COURT RECORDS 9AM-3PM - Wednesday ARCHIVES 9AM-3PM - Thursday RESEARCH LIBRARY 9AM-3PM & Open the fourth Sat of the month from 10AM-2PM

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 15:00
Thursday 09:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(410) 838-7691

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Harford County Public library has a series of three genealogy virtual presentations. September 15, 2020 is the first. Make sure to register!
Does anyone know why the Herald of Hope baptist church is now abandoned in Aberdeen Maryland?
Wondering where I can research Out Pensioner records or applications for Harford County 1870-1875. My ancestor is listed in the newspaper as a recipient in 1870 & 1875. Does Henry Peden's book have more detailed information about the person? ( though I am not sure she is listed in the book). Wish the libraries were open :( Thanks for any help on this topic in general.
I am looking for information about the Harford Convalescent Home, located in Street. Family owned it. I can’t find anything on Google.
CONOWINGO DAM In the Roaring Twenties, America buzzed with energy and innovation as an electric revolution swept across the country. Enlisting Mother Nature to lead the charge, the mighty Susquehanna River was harnessed in 1928 by one of the larges hydroelectric works ever seen: Conowingo Dam. This feat of engineering, adorned with an art deco charm, is a landmark known by many but understood by few. The time of the Conowingo Dam construction, 1927 and 1928, was one of tremendous growth for Stephenson Lodge, No. 135 and for Darlington, Maryland. In 1927, our membership grew from fifty-three to seventy-eight members. That year twenty-nine meetings were held, and ninety-three degrees were conferred. While in 1928, thirty meetings were held with eighty-two degrees being conferred. The membership rose to one hundred and six. More Degrees were conferred during those two years than would be in the next twenty years. Stephenson Lodge will present an hour long documentary on the Conowingo Dam created by Maryland Public Television on January 16 at Stephenson Lodge, 2115 Shureville Road in Darlington. Right across from the Darlington Methodist Church. Open to the public. As a bonus for the history buffs, see inside the old Darlington Academy building, built in the 1890's, and see images of the classes that attended. Many of the original architecture elements still exist. If you are a fan of Harford County/Darlington history, you won't want to miss this.
September 23:Junius Brutus Booth & Tudor Hall – 2:00 pm Come to Tudor Hall this Sunday at 2pm for a special talk on Junius Brutus Booth Sr, father of John Wilkes Booth and patriarch of the Booth family. Presented by Jim Garrett, Booth family historian and Lincoln assassination author and speaker. Talk starts at 2:00 pm and lasts about 45 minutes. Located at Tudor Hall, 17 Tudor Lane, Bel Air, MD 21015. $5.00 cash for those ages 13 and older. For more info call 443-619-0008 or email at [email protected]. For other tour dates go to http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com
September 23: Guided Tour of the Historic Tudor Hall – 1:00 pm Tour the grounds and 1st floor of Tudor Hall this Sunday at 1pm, home of Maryland's famous family of Shakespearean actors including John Wilkes Booth‬. Tour starts at 1:00 pm and lasts about 45 minutes. Located at 17 Tudor Lane, Bel Air, MD 21015. $5.00 cash for those ages 13 and older. For more info call 443-619-0008 or email at [email protected]. For other tour dates go to http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Link for "past perfect" and other links connected to website are not working -
Tour the grounds and 1st floor of Tudor Hall, home of Maryland’s famous family of Shakespearian actors including Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth on April 22. Tours start at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and lasts about 45 minutes for each tour. Located at 17 Tudor Lane, Bel Air, MD 21015. $5.00 cash for those ages 13 and older. For more info call 443-619-0008 or email at [email protected]. For other tour dates go to http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com
Currently compiling lists from the Baltimore Sun from 1837 to submit to the Historical Society of Harford County.
June 25, 2017: Junius Brutus Booth and Tudor Hall – 2:00 pm Learn more about Junius Brutus Booth Sr, father of John Wilkes Booth and patriarch of the Booth family. Presented by Jim Garrett, Lincoln assassination author and speaker. Talk starts at 2:00 pm and lasts about 45 minutes. Located at Tudor Hall, 17 Tudor Lane, Bel Air, MD 21015. $5.00 cash for those age 13 and older. For more info call 443-619-0008 or email us at [email protected]. For other tour dates go to http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com
June 25, 2017: Guided Tour of the Historic Tudor Hall – 1:00 pm Tour the grounds and first floor of historic Tudor Hall, home of Maryland's famous family of Shakespearian actors including ‪Edwin Booth‬ and ‪John Wilkes Booth‬. Tour starts at 1:00 pm and lasts about 45 minutes. Located at 17 Tudor Lane, Bel Air, MD 21015. $5.00 cash for those age 13 and older. For more info call 443-619-0008 or email us at [email protected]. For other tour dates go to http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com