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Historic Woodbine estate in Howard County on the market for $10.25 million

One day in the early 1980s, Ted Mariani opened a newspaper and saw an advertisement promoting a bankruptcy sale for a large estate in western Howard County. Mariani, then a 51-year-old architect, drove from the Forest Hills neighborhood in Washington to Woodbine and saw a grand estate with hundreds, if not thousands of trees.

Mariani said he thought to himself, “I can design a house, but I can’t grow a tree,” he recalled in a Monday phone interview.

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The trees at Oakdale estate were abundant and diverse – oaks, black walnuts, chestnuts, cedars, to name a few.

And so, since the property “was loaded with really nice trees," Mariani put in a bid and soon became the owner of the grand home. Now, Mariani, 88, is selling it for $10.25 million.

Oakdale Estate is the second prominent historic property to go on sale in the county this year. Fourteen miles away, Hickory Ridge, a 65-acre property in Highland owned by retired former MedStar Health CEO John McDaniel, is on the market for $9 million. Both properties are listed by Richard Watson, a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate.

In June of 1982, Mariani purchased the Oakdale estate for $410,769, according to a state property database. Mariani said that since the 1980s, he has spent millions of dollars purchasing land surrounding the Woodbine property to preserve the essence of his estate from new development nearby.

In 2005, Mariani added a two-story hall so he and his wife Veronica could host large-scale events.

Oakdale has been on the federal National Register of Historic Places since 2014. The property is also listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties and the Howard County Inventory of Historic Sites, according to a brochure provided by Watson.

Because of its historic designations, the property cannot be developed. Hickory Ridge, however, only has 20 of its 65 acres under historic protection. Some of the surrounding parcels are currently zoned for development, McDaniel previously said.

The history of the Oakdale property is rich. It was bequeathed to the Warfield family by King George III in 1766. The main house, which boasts three levels and has 24 rooms, 12 fireplaces, an accessible rooftop and a circular driveway, was built in 1838 and had a “major expansion” in 1898.

The farmland was plowed with oxen and “had a diverse agriculture that included milch cows, sheep, and hogs” and corn, oats and tabacco, which slaves likely cultivated, according to public records. Edwin Warfield, who served as Maryland governor between 1904 and 1908, lived there most of his life.

Where will Mariani go after his home is sold?

“My wife is convinced I will go to hell,” Mariani joked.

They will likely stay in Howard County and live in a retirement community, he said.

“Maintaining this place is quite a chore," Mariani said, adding he initially intended to leave the land to his children, but they will not be able to maintain it. “For years and years, I was doing nothing but mowing meadows, planting trees. I enjoyed it but I’ve reached a point where I can’t do it.”

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