Asecluded pocket of green hills and trees just outside of the northern boundary line of Baltimore, Ruxton is a conveniently located and surprisingly rural neighborhood.

Once an industrially driven town that supported Bellona Powder Supply -- which provided 20 percent of the country's gunpowder during the War of 1812, according to the Ruxton-Riderwood-Lake Roland Area Improvement Association -- the area is now almost entirely residential.

Ruxton, a neighborhood rooted in tradition, is a wholesome place to raise a family, said Fran Anderson, the association's president.

"There's really a tradition of community and family," Anderson said. "What kind of astonished me when I moved into Ruxton was the number of houses that had been handed down by family."

The neighborhood features both sprawling estates and more modest homes in its labyrinth of driveways wedged between Charles Street and Falls Road. Most homes are traditional; Colonial, Georgian and cottage-style dwellings built as long ago as the 18th century dominate the landscape, although there are a few ranch-style and contemporary houses.

Prices for detached homes range from about $900,000 to $3.15 million. Although the neighborhood, historically a nesting spot for Baltimore's wealthy elite, has grown more diverse, it still primarily draws well-off families, according to Diane Donohue, an agent for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lutherville.

"It does attract a lot of young professionals because of the school system for people who work in the city but want to live in the county," Donohue said. "It has a close proximity to many ways to get downtown if you are working in the city. It's just one of those communities -- location, location, location."

Ruxton's few rentals range from about $1,200 to $4,000.

Ruxton public school students attend Riderwood Elementary School, Dumbarton Middle School and Towson High School. Both Riderwood's and Dumbarton's reading and math test scores are above county averages, and Towson's subject scores also rank higher than those of other high schools in Baltimore County. Many Ruxton students, though, attend private schools such as Friends or Gilman in Roland Park.

Police officials say Ruxton sees an occasional robbery or petty crime, but little violent or major crime.

"When you look at it compared to most neighborhoods in the county, it has one of the lowest amounts of crime that we have," said Michael Hill, spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department. "The Ruxton area is very, very safe, with very little crime reported."

Upscale local family-owned grocery stores such as Graul's Market on Bellona Avenue, and Eddie's of Roland Park on Charles Street, offer residents a variety of groceries and prepared foods. Several pizza places in nearby Lutherville, Timonium and Towson deliver to the area.

Strictly speaking, there are no restaurants in Ruxton, but a plethora of eateries in Towson and Baltimore are within easy reach.

The Robert E. Lee Park is a local favorite for dog-walkers, runners and bikers. Dirt trails about five miles long circumscribe Lake Roland, a now-defunct reservoir that once attracted sailors and skaters but has grown smaller as it's filled with silt over the years. Private country clubs in the area include Bellona Avenue's L'Hirondelle, which offers tennis and swimming, and the Elkridge Club, adjacent to Ruxton's southern boundary on Charles Street, where members can golf, play tennis and swim.

The quiet community offers no nightlife of its own, but the proximity of Towson and Baltimore keep bar-hoppers from becoming bored.


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