Lake Roland (Maryland)

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Lake Roland
LakeRoland.jpg
Lake Roland
Location Towson, Baltimore County, Maryland
Coordinates 39°22′42″N 076°38′35″W / 39.37833°N 76.64306°W / 39.37833; -76.64306Coordinates: 39°22′42″N 076°38′35″W / 39.37833°N 76.64306°W / 39.37833; -76.64306
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Jones Falls, Towson Run, Roland Run
Primary outflows Jones Falls
Basin countries United States
Surface area 100 acres (40 ha)
Surface elevation 246 ft (75 m)

Lake Roland is a 100-acre (0.40 km2) defunct reservoir in Baltimore County, Maryland named for Roland Run, a nearby stream-bed that feeds the lake and eventually flows into the Jones Falls which runs southeast through the city center to the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River and the Baltimore Harbor.[1] It initially served as the first municipal water supply for the city of Baltimore by in 1861, with the dam and Greek Revival style pumping building on the eastern shore constructed around 1860, but was abandoned in 1915 because of silting problems.[2] Although located just north outside of the city limits, it is owned and managed by the City since its purchase of the land and the company assets from the original privately owned Baltimore Water Company (founded 1805) in 1854, after a political controversy regarding the failure of the company to extend new water lines into surrounding out-lying areas of the city which had added territory in its last annexation in 1818.[3]

The lake is contained within the bounds of Robert E. Lee Park, which was established in the 1920s and supervised by the newly organized Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation. The Lake is an artificial impoundment created by a dam on the Jones Falls and two smaller streams: Towson Run and Roland Run. The lake supports wildlife including Canada geese, largemouth bass, and common carp.

Since 1986, elevated levels of chlordane in the flesh of the lake's fish have resulted in the issuance of a fish consumption advisory and the classification of the lake as a water-quality impaired segment.

Some of the wealthiest and most desirable communities in the Baltimore area adjoin the park; indeed, the L'Hirondelle Club was originally founded by wealthy members of the local community for rowing on the lake. It is bounded by in Baltimore County by Ruxton to the north, Woodbrook to the East, and North Roland Park-Poplar Hill to the south. Further to the south are the wealthy city neighborhoods of Roland Park, Homeland, and Guilford, all laid out by the Roland Park Company under the inspiration of the famous landscaping architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1890s, and 1910s. They were built as country houses for the social elite of Baltimore around the start of the 20th century due to the attractive setting. They were all designed in the then popular Georgian, Tudor revival, and Chateau styles.

The Park is also bounded in the west by the community of Bare Hills, one of the oldest African-American settlements in the area.

To the west and southwest of the Lake is the railroad track remains of the Greenspring Branch and the station/junction known as "Relay House", also for the old Northern Central Railroad, formerly the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad (not to be confused with a more famous "Relay" in the southwest of the city for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between its Washington Branch to the south and the Main Line going west to Harpers Ferry and Ohio).

The current light rail line for the local "Metro" system of the Maryland Transit Administration and state Department of Transportation which runs from Cromwell Station near Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County to the south, through the city, to Hunt Valley and Timonium Industrial Park in Baltimore County in the north since the early 1990s, runs along a track embankment and trestle through the middle of the lakes lower portion above the dam.

The lake is part of the Lake Roland Historic District.

The dam where Lake Roland flows into the Jones Falls
Lake Roland in about 1898

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