St. Charles College, Maryland
St. Charles College Historic District (Boundary Increase)
St. Charles College Historic District, December 2009
|Location||711 Maiden Choice La., Catonsville, Maryland|
|Area||15 acres (6.1 ha), boundary increase 11 acres (4.5 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||83002945, boundary increase 87002181|
|Added to NRHP||September 30, 1983, boundary increase December 29, 1987|
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, (1737-1832), signs the Declaration of Independence for Maryland. One of the wealthiest men in the Americas at that time and a newly elected delegate to the Second Continental Congress and the only Roman Catholic to vote on independence and sign the document, Carroll staked his fortune on the American Revolution. After the Revolution, Carroll becomes president of the Maryland State Senate in the General Assembly and divides his time between the family mansion and estate Doughoregan Manor in western Anne Arundel County (later Howard County), near Ellicott Mills on the upper Patapsco River, and Annapolis. One of his most important tasks he said was when he helped lay the "first stone" for the new technology of transportation, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on "Independence Day", July 4, 1828, west of the city near modern Halethorpe. At his death in 1832, he is the last surviving Signer and was laid to rest with other Carrolls in the crypt at the family chapel at Doughoregan.
Charles buys Marys Lott, a 75-acre farm from Jacob Burgoon, a Catholic immigrant from Alcace-Lorraine, France who came to America in about 1745 and settled in Elkridge, Maryland. Jacob and his wife were indentured servants. Jacob was a cordwainer (shoemaker). Jacob and Elizabeth had bought Marys Lott in 1762. They had 8 children and after selling Marys Lott they moved to a farm in what is now Carroll County, Maryland. Marys Lott became part of the land later given for St. Charles College.
Ambrose Maréchal, (1764-1828), the future third Archbishop of Baltimore, and other Sulpician priests are frequent guests at Doughoregan, saying Mass there often and gaining the ear of the Signer. It is during subsequent years that a request of land is made for a minor seminary. Carroll, however, denies the request because he feels he cannot break up or donate any part of his patrimony.
Emily Caton MacTavish, favorite granddaughter of the Signer and sister of the "Three American Graces", convinces Carroll to give 253 acres (1.02 km2) to the Sulpician Fathers for the erection of a minor seminary — Saint Charles. She accomplishes this by suggesting he donate land that he had bought during his lifetime. Included is Mary's Lott, so aptly named for a gift to the Church, thought Carroll at the time. The College was incorporated on 3 February 1830, with the name "St. Charles" chosen for its benefactor, Charles Carroll.
Construction starts on the college building. The building would reach a size of 367 feet long, with 15 and a half foot tall ceilings using gas lighting and radiant heat.
The first building of Saint Charles College (a pre-seminary) is completed and the College opens on October 31 with two faculty: the president, Father Oliver Jenkins; a deacon, Edward Caton; and four students.
"Our Lady of the Angels Chapel" is completed after long delays caused by the American Civil War. An imitation of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, the building is 110 feet long, 34 feet wide and 50 feet high. It is lavishly decorated mainly through the generosity of its first rector and president; Father Oliver Jenkins.
Two additional wings are added to the building for a 190-person enrollment.
A vastly enlarged Saint Charles College celebrates its 50th anniversary. The park-like grounds of St. Charles look southeast towards the Frederick Road, later the eastern end of the historic National Road, the first federally sponsored interstate route begun in the early 1800s from Baltimore to Cumberland and on to the western states finally ending near the Mississippi River in Vandalia, Illinois, then the territorial capital of the Territory of Illinois. In later years the college overlooks Wilkens Avenue, which also runs southwestward out of the city near the intersection of Maiden Choice Lane.
On March 16, disaster strikes: the college is completely destroyed by fire started in the cellar under the chapel. Miraculously, none of the 200+ faculty and students is killed or injured. Sacred vessels and vestments, along with thousands of priceless manuscripts and books are all lost. The burned-out shell is pulled down and the salvageable building materials are transported to Catonsville where the College is quickly rebuilt. All that remains standing are the ruins of the 1906 Recreation Hall.[Note 1]
After the fire, the heirs of the Carroll family requested that the 250 acres of land to be returned since it was not then used as a college by selling off the land and dividing the profits among the family. The area was purchased by Howard County Planning Board member William Phillip Brendel who ran Brendel Manor Park opening in 1942. It has since been upzoned and developed into a suburban housing community. The property was subdivided several times, with Robert J. Lanceolott and Synergy Development Corp. developing over the historic ruins of the first college buildings in 1991 to build the "Terra Maria Community". The ruins of the old pre-seminary's recreation hall and laundry are now located in the middle of Terra Maria Way circle with the grotto removed for a stormwater retention pond.( )
St. Charles' High School Department with boarding school was closed and the junior college merged with the upper college of St. Mary's Seminary and University now on Roland Avenue and Belvedere Avenue/Northern Parkway in the Roland Park neighborhood of north Baltimore (having moved there from North Paca Street by St. Mary's Street in the old Seton Hill neighborhood to new landmark buildings of Beaux Arts/Classical Revival style architecture on a new expansive park-like campus in 1929) and the old St. Charles second campus is renamed "St. Mary's Seminary College" and continues its educational programs, now opened up to ecumenical participation.
The college closed and the property was sold to Erickson Retirement Communities, Inc. and is presently known as Charlestown Retirement Community.
St. Charles College Historic District
St. Charles College Historic District is a historic Roman Catholic church seminary and national historic district at Catonsville, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States. The main complex consists of six interconnected buildings, three of which form the central group: Chapel, Administration Building, and Old Dormitory. Each has a rusticated stone first floor and upper levels of buff brick with stone trim in the Italian Renaissance style. The complex includes three additional buildings: the Dining Hall, connected by a passageway; the Convent, physically attached to the Dining Hall, and the Power House.
- Patrick Joseph Byrne, Maryknoll missionary who served as Apostolic Delegate to Korea
- George Sterling, poet and playwright
- John Mattingly, Commissioner of New York City Administration for Children Services
- John Surratt, conspiracy accomplice (along with Mary Surratt) in the assassination of 16th President Abraham Lincoln in 1865
- Louis J. Weichmann
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Charles Carroll, Patriot, Senator, Gentleman". The Times (Ellicott City). 31 March 1965.
- Barbara Feaga. Howard's Roads to the Past. p. 40.
- Howard County Historical Society. Images of America Howard County. p. 62.
- "Fires Destroyed Two Catholic Colleges". The Times (Ellicott City). 31 March 1965.
- Charles Belfoure, "Outside Baltimore, a Reach Back to the 19th Century", New York Times, December 12, 1999.
- Lousie Vest (24 July 2013). "St. Charles College site advertised for sale 100 years ago". The Baltimore Sun.
- Barbara Feaga. Howard's Roads to the Past. p. 38.
- "HO 993 St Charles College" (PDF). Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Carl Schoettler (24 April 1991). "Decades-old cemetery threatened by development Howard graveyard may be sold off". The Baltimore Sun.
- Maryland Historical Trust: Listing for St. Charles College Historic District
- St. Charles College Historic District, Baltimore County, including undated photo, at Maryland Historical Trust