Originally known as a farming community, eastern Baltimore County's Rosedale is recognized today for its comfortable housing, strong sense of community and great accessibility.
"At one time, everyone knew one another, and I think that base is still here," said Russ Mirabile, president of the Rosedale Community Association. "It's a great place to live and do business."
Boundaries for the community start at the Baltimore City line and roughly extend north to Interstate 95, east past Rossville Boulevard and south past U.S. 40, or Pulaski Highway, including the neighborhood of Chesaco Park.
"You have the best of many worlds here," said Mirabile, adding that the area is racially and ethnically diverse. "I like the location. It's very accessible to everything."
Founded as a farming community by German and Polish immigrants in the late 19th century, Rosedale experienced a great deal of its growth during the 1950s, according to a history listed with the Rosedale branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. Much of the housing stock was built between 1950 and 1979.
Although there's no certain origin for the name, the library's records point to an explanation given by a fourth-grade class in 1950 after interviewing friends and family in the area. It told of a young English farmer named Dale, who had property covered with roses on Hamilton Avenue.
The name dates back to at least 1877, according to A Glossary of Place Names in Baltimore County by John W. McGrain.
Today, many longtime residents, Franklin Square Hospital Center and the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County call Rosedale home.
Depending on what road you travel within Rosedale, you'll get a different feel for the area, Mirabile said.
"If you drive Rosedale and take Route 7, it's quaint. If you take Route 40, it's industrial and businesslike, with scattered housing," he said.
Redevelopment along U.S. 40 has helped to stabilize the area by pulling in new companies and businesses. Residents say that although traffic has picked up, it's an improvement.
Currently, Route 7, or Philadelphia Road, is undergoing an enhancement and streetscape project to improve safety and aesthetics. The $11 million Maryland State Highway Administration project is slated for completion this year.
Joanne Hullihen, a 30-year resident, said she enjoys Rosedale's laid-back atmosphere and close-knit community. She serves as president of the Greater Chesaco Community Association, which covers a smaller neighborhood within Rosedale near the city line.
"My family has been here in this area for almost 100 years," said Hullihen, whose grandparents moved to Rosedale in 1910. "A lot of my relatives still live here."
Housing stock: Just about any type of housing can be found in Rosedale, including Cape Cods, ranchers, Colonials, farmhouses, townhouses, duplexes and condominiums. Although many of the homes date back at least 30 years, there are new housing options throughout the community.
Chris Makres, the manager of Long & Foster Real Estate, Rosedale/White Marsh, has lived in Rosedale since 1964. Makres said the area's main attraction is residents' accessibility to so many amenities.
"It's close to the city by access of Route 40 or the Beltway, and only minutes to 95," said Makres. "It's unique because it's close to getting all around Baltimore and out of the state."
Makres also said the many original homeowners help keep Rosedale a solid, stable community.
With the average home in Rosedale selling for just over $250,000 in 2008, the area is an affordable option for many buyers, said Jennifer Bayne, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Village of Cross Keys.
"Rosedale is an eastern Baltimore County neighborhood full of charisma," she wrote in an e-mail. "Its access to major thoroughfares makes it attractive to the suburbanite who also loves the city and travel."
Schools: The majority of students in Rosedale is served by Red House Run Elementary School, Shady Spring Elementary School, Golden Ring Middle School and Overlea High School.
The elementary schools scored high on the Maryland School Assessment. Fourth-graders at Red House Run scored 98.5 percent proficient in math and 100 percent in reading. At Shady Spring, fourth-graders scored 89.7 percent proficient in math and 84.5 in reading.
Golden Ring Middle did not fare as well. The school has yet to meet adequate yearly progress requirements; AYP is the yardstick for tracking academic success and making accountability decisions.
The high school met its AYP requirements and scored well on state testing, posting a graduation rate of just over 86 percent.
The Rosedale Center, an alternative middle and high school, is in the community, as are several private schools.
Crime: "Violent crime is down sharply," said Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department.
In the first nine months of 2008, robberies dropped by 39 percent, aggravated assaults were down by 50 percent, motor vehicle thefts were down by 34 percent and destruction of property calls were down 10 percent.
Toohey said the results are part of an effort to redeploy officers to the area.
Shopping: There are local and national businesses in the area. Free-standing businesses including the Home Depot, Office Depot, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart occupy the site of the former Golden Ring Mall. White Marsh Mall and the Avenue at White Marsh are close by.
Dining in: A Giant Food on Rossville Boulevard is popular with residents.
Dining out: There's a lot to choose from when it comes to restaurant options, with most being quick and casual. Local and national chain restaurants serve seafood, steaks, pizza, sandwiches, pit beef, Asian specialties, Mexican fare and Italian food. Happy Day Diner on U.S. 40 is a favorite spot.
Recreation: Several parks are in and around the community, including the 20-acre Rosedale Park.
rosedale by the numbers
ZIP code: 21237
Homes on the market: 173
Average sales price: $250,539*
Average days on the market: 92*
*Information based on sales during the past 12 months, compiled by Jennifer Bayne of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Village of Cross Keys and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.