Dorsey Hall

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Dorsey Hall
Dorsey Hall Ellicott City MD Jan 11.JPG
Dorsey Hall, January 2011
Dorsey Hall is located in Maryland
Dorsey Hall
Location 5100 Dorsey Hall Dr., Columbia, Maryland
Coordinates 39°14′43″N 76°50′5″W / 39.24528°N 76.83472°W / 39.24528; -76.83472Coordinates: 39°14′43″N 76°50′5″W / 39.24528°N 76.83472°W / 39.24528; -76.83472
Built abt. 1798
Architectural style Georgian
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference #


Added to NRHP December 28, 2001

Dorsey Hall is a historic home located in the Columbia community of unincorporated Howard County, Maryland, United States. It is a six-by-one-bay, 2 12-story stucco structure with a gable roof covered with asphalt shingles. It is a well-preserved and detailed example of the vernacular dwellings of the early 19th century in Howard County and associated with the Dorsey family, one of the "first families" of the county.[2]

Dorsey Hall was built on Dorsey's Search, a parcel of land patented by John Dorsey of Hockley-in-the-hole (1645–1714) in Baltimore County (now Howard County). The 479-acre (194 ha) property adjacent to the north branch of the Patuxent river was surveyed by Richard Beard in December 1684, and granted to Dorsey in March 1696. The surrounding residential neighborhood of "Dorsey's Search" was named after the original land grant. The farm operated with slave labor until the death of Caleb Dorsey in 1864.

In 1963, owner Julius Mandel and Gudelsky Company attempted to rezone the site for high-rise apartments.[3] The property was retitled to the Gudelsky owened Contee Sand and Gravel Company.[4] It was then purchased by the The Rouse Company shell company Columbia Industrial Development Corp. for redevelopment which halted in 1968 by residential opposition. The building underwent a renovation in 1979.[5] The stone gristmill remains were still visible onsite at this time.[6]

The 5.4 acres of land surrounding Dorsey Hall was acquired by The Rouse Company and resold to land developers Richard Talkin and Donald Reuwer for $785,000. In 2000, A $3.5 million dollar 32,000 square feet office project broke ground with County executive James N. Robey.[7] By 2001, the site of the estate was subdivided and reduced to 2 acres with a survey claiming no outbuilding were present unlike the neighboring Woodlawn Estate form the same period.[8]

Dorsey Hall now stands at the entrance to a business park (comprising mostly medical offices) at 5100 Dorsey Hall Drive, the architecture of which is compatible with the building. However, although it forms an imposing image, it has no signage or other identification and is not open to the public. The confusion is amplified by the adjacent business park at 5010 Dorsey Hall Drive, which bears a sign naming itself the "Dorsey Hall Business Park."

Just north of Maryland Route 108, Dorsey Hall is technically at the southern edge of unincorporated Ellicott City, Maryland, rather than the northern edge of Columbia.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.[1]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Maryland Historical Trust". Dorsey Hall, Howard County. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-11-21. 
  3. ^ "Mandel v. Bd. of County Comm'rs, 208 A.2d 710 (Md. 1965) Court of Appeals of Maryland". Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Celia M. Holland. Old homes and families of Howard County, Maryland: with consideration of various additional points of interest. p. 128. 
  5. ^ "HO-28". Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Ruth Besse (17 May 1985). "Traveling Back in time". The Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Edward Gunts (13, July 13, 2000). "Old, new will merge in Howard Restoration: Dorsey Hall, an 18th-century manor house in Columbia, will be the centerpiece of a new office complex slated to open next year". The Baltimore Sun. 
  8. ^ "HO-28". Retrieved 4 March 2014. 

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