Historical Society opening private historic homes to the public

The Historical Society of Harford County has arranged for some of Harford County's historic private homes to be open to the public for a series of tours, starting Feb. 10.

The first of the tours will be at the McKinney-Grosbeak House adjacent to the Liriodendron Mansion, which the Bel Air town government has been asked to buy.

The house was completed in 1835 by John McKinney who ran the Union Tavern for town boss Thomas Hays. He also edited one of the Town's weekly papers, the Independent Citizen. Later the house and grounds were sold to Howard Kelly, physician and professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who lived in the home while Kelly's mansion Liriodendron was built next door.

The home will be open Feb. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is self-guided; however, Historical Society members with a knowledge of the home, its history and architecture will be available to answer questions.

A second tour has been schedule for late March at the Elkridge-Harford Hunting Club. Additional tours will be posted to the Historical Society's website as they are scheduled.

This tour series is being offered as a fund raising event that will go toward the Historical Society's restoration of its headquarters, the former Bel Air Post Office. A $5 suggested donation is requested to benefit the post office building renovation.

Completed in 1937 the Post Office included many state of the art technological features as well a mural painted by Maxwell Simpson.

The Historical Society has launched a capital program to restore the building and make repairs to the roof, windows and interior walls and ceilings. The tours of private homes are among many events the society plans to hold over the next two years to raise the $500,000 needed to complete all the repairs and restoration.

For more information, visit http://www.harfordhistory.org or call 410-838-7691. Advanced reservations for the Saturday's tour are recommended.

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