Harford historic homes tour

The Historical Society of Harford County will host an open house at The Liriodendron in Bel Air on Sunday, July 14, part of the society's historic homes tour to raise funds for the renovation of its headquarters. (Lloyd Fox, The Baltimore Sun / July 7, 2013)

For its next tour of historic Harford County homes, the Historical Society of Harford County will sponsor an open house at The Liriodendron, 502 W. Gordon St. in Bel Air, on Sunday, July 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The open house is one of a series of home tours the society is holding to raise funds toward the renovation of its headquarters on North Main Street in the former post office building.

Members of the society will be on hand to share personal stories and photos about growing up on or around Liriodendron.

The home was designed for Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly, one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and was built in 1898 as a summer home away from the heat of the Kelly's home in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood.

According to The Liriodendron Foundation Inc. website, the home's genesis was in 1889, when the New Jersey-born Kelly wed Laetitia Bredow, who was from Prussia. Liriodendron was Howard Kelly's solution to his bride's homesickness for her native Prussian home and European summers, and her dislike of the family's usual summer sojourn in northern Ontario, Canada.

Liriodendron mansion and its original 200-plus-acre estate were the home to members of the Kelly family until the 1980 sale of the estate to Harford County and the creation of The Liriodendron Foundation. Much of the land the county acquired was incorporated into Heavenly Waters Park, and the mansion is used for meetings, weddings, exhibits and other functions.

This tour series is being offered for a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children that will go toward the Historical Society's headquarters renovation.

No reservations are required and the donation can be made at the entrance. Parking is free and available close to the house.