Quiet Scaggsville is expecting to get quieter

Scaggsville may no longer be the farmland that the Scaggs family settled in the 1830s, or the 15-person town the Maryland Gazetteer reported in 1941, but homeowners say they enjoy the country quiet of the community nestled in the Howard County portion of Laurel.

Not actually an incorporated city, Scaggsville comprises a number of quaint neighborhoods, including Willow Tree, Hammond Village and Cherry Tree.

Its borders generally are considered to be Johns Hopkins Road to the north, east to Interstate 95, a little west of Route 29 and south to the Rocky Gorge Reservoir.

The prices of existing homes, which include a sprinkling of ranchers, Colonials, split levels and cottagelike bungalows, typically range between $200,000 and $450,000.

Many of the newer homes sell upward to $500,000, according to Mike Messick, a real estate agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

"It's a little off the beaten path, but you're still right there in the middle of everything," said Messick, who has lived in his 1977 house on Rooster Court for 17 years.

Soon, the residents anticipate, the neighborhood will become even quieter: An extension of Route 216 between U.S. 29 and I-95 will pull commuter traffic off the residential Leishear Road.

Its location continues to be one of Scaggsville's biggest draws.

"You've got convenience," Messick said. "You're in between [Interstate] 95 and [U.S.] 29."

The convenience has always seemed to be there. The village was a stop on the difficult journey between Baltimore and Washington in the early 19th century, according to Celia M. Holland's book Old Homes and Families of Howard County, Maryland.

Alfred Scaggs, originally from England, purchased 700 acres for $2,100 in the early 1800s. He and his wife, Mary Duvall, gave a farm to each of their seven children. The region became known as Scaggsville after descendants built a post office, which is no longer in use, with that name.

Today, Lynda Scaggs, 57, is married to David, a great-great-grandson of Charles Scaggs, one of the seven brothers. They live on the family's 65-acre farm on Murphy Road. Emmanuel United Methodist Church, which Scaggs descendants built in 1892, is still in use.

"When I was a kid, [U.S.] 29 was a gravel road and this was all farm country," said Alan Price, 63, a great-great-grandson of Isaac Scaggs, Charles' younger brother. The original Scaggs homestead, which he said he thinks was built in 1834, sits unoccupied on his 67-acre farm in the 10000 block of Johns Hopkins Road.

Once in a while, a resident new to the area will propose changing the region's name. A few years ago, a meeting was held to consider a proposal to change the name to Rocky Gorge, according to John Hurly, a resident and Long & Foster agent.

Though there may be no Scaggsville community association, that didn't mean there weren't a number of Scaggs descendants at the meeting.

"Most of the people at the meeting had the last name Scaggs," Hurly said. The woman who made the proposal "was practically booed out of there," he said.

Many residents move into Scaggsville for the schools.

Mary and Jeff Taylor said they moved to Cardinal Forest Circle from neighboring Prince George's County so their daughter, Rachel, 12, could attend Hammond Middle School, while their son, Jacob, 9, could stay at Gorman Crossing Elementary.

"It's a warm neighborhood," said Marian Frentz, who has lived on Cardinal Forest Road since 1985. Frentz's four daughters have run a snowball stand out of the family's garage for the past 10 years, which their neighbors refer to as a neighborhood fixture.

This summer, Frentz's two youngest daughters, Suzy, 18, and Diana, 15, will be running the stand, which offers about 70 flavors and new toppings each year.

The neighborhood may be "pretty big," but Marian Frentz said she knows a lot of her neighbors.

"You go to the snowball stand, and you just meet people there," she said.


Commute to downtown Baltimore: 45 minutes

Public schools: Gorman Crossing Elementary, Hammond Middle, Reservoir High, Atholton High

Shopping: Cherry Tree Shopping Center, Savage Mill, The Mall in Columbia

ZIP code: 20723

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