As young parents, Jennifer and Chris Runde fell in love with a big old house in Glen Arm, full of character and potential but rough around the edges. Thus began the Runde family’s years-long mission to turn a dated estate into a livable home.

“Everything needed love,” said Jennifer Runde, an interior decorator and mom to Christopher, 13, Will, 10, and Ben, 6. “From outside to inside, it was all just dank and un-lived in.”


Runde said she worked on nearly every part of the house, redoing the kitchen, renovating bathrooms, replacing windows, pulling out weeds and vines across all 5.82 acres of land. They found field rats and snakes, but also outdoor bridges, fountains, waterfalls, and stonewalls.

“It was like ‘The Secret Garden,' she said. “It was a crazy adventure.”

Now, with the family leaving the area for a job opportunity in Delaware, they’ve listed the more than 100-year-old abode, nicknamed the “Land-O-Promise” by previous owners, for $1,099,000. They think its eight bedrooms, outdoor water features and historic value will lure another family eager to make their mark in quaint Glen Arm.

The Runde family purchased the property in 2014 for $545,000, property records show.

Lisa Alatis-Hapney, the Keller Williams Realtor handling the listing, said the listing price fits the area, and the home’s commercial zoning also opens the space to a mixed-use venture.

“You could open a bed and breakfast, you could run a business out of your home, or use it as a residential home,” she said. “The land is exquisite, and there’s a lot of it.”

The home dates back to 1902, property records show, and is situated behind the former United Container Machinery Inc. factory at the sharp curve along Glen Arm Road. Both home and factory belonged to F.X. Hooper, who sold machines to make corrugated cardboard. He also created the first rotary wood printer in 1882 to place trade names on wooden shipping boxes, according to a 2003 article in The Baltimore Sun. Photos from the Baltimore Museum of Industry show a range of machinery used and even aerial views of the property.

In about 2002, the company merged with MarquipWard of Cockeysville, which laid off hundreds of workers and put the Glen Arm plant up for sale.

In the company’s heyday, Runde said Hooper’s house parties drew some of Baltimore’s biggest names, such as Black & Decker founders S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker and Smyth Jewelers founder Albert Smyth.

The Baltimore County community, home to farmland and what remains of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, lies in the Long Green Valley in between the Loch Raven Reservoir and Gunpowder Falls State Park. Runde said she and her family enjoyed living in this simpler section of the county.

“You may see something like this closer toward the city, but up here, it’s a gem,” she said of the estate. “It’s just quiet, and the factory is a great neighbor because there’s nothing going on there.”

(Not exactly true. While it’s no longer a factory, the closest building is home to a motorsports garage, a kitchen remodeling distributor and indoor sporting fields. Trees and fencing limit the home’s view of the plant.)

Runde said she might sell the home as is, donating all furniture, decorations and furnishings to the next owner. She said while she initially planned to stay there for a long while, she’s proud to have contributed to the site’s longevity.

“It’s an estate house, so it should feel like that,” she said. “It’s a piece of history — you have to be into the history.”