Glenwood, once the well-kept secret of its longtime residents, is now coveted by wealthy professionals who have discovered its rolling hills, farmland and peaceful lifestyle -- and brought it the distinction of having one of the highest per-capita incomes in the nation.
The community in western Howard County is located south of Interstate 70 along Route 97, which bisects Glenwood and stretches from Westminster to Washington.
Visitors will find a mixture of old and new -- historic homes and churches that dot the roadside, and new construction, including the Inwood shopping center that opened this spring.
Within the past decade, Glenwood has seen a housing boom. Small pockets of subdivisions of 34 to 100 homes have sprung up along the rural road.
Among these are McKendree Estates, a 34-home community where William and Ilene Cook moved from Columbia 11 months ago with their children, Matt and Ben. The Cooks were looking for more space and a "neighborhood feel."
"We love it here," said William Cook, an attorney with the firm of Borinsky, Ramsey and Cook in Columbia. "How can you not like living in an area where your backyard neighbors are farms?
"It was a good compromise for us. When you walk out the front there is a neighborhood, which is what my wife wanted. And when you walk out the back there is nobody, which is what I wanted."
Both McKendree Estates, built by NV Homes, and another development, Wellington, feature homes selling for $300,000 to $500,000. Wellington offers several builders and home styles along wooded Longfield Drive and its side streets.
Diane Kenworthy, a Realtor with O'Conor, Piper and Flynn in Ellicott City, said she was surprised at who was buying homes in Wellington. "We did market studies on Wellington and anticipated a lot of Montgomery Countians but what we found were people from the general area, Ellicott City, Columbia and Glenwood itself," Kenworthy said.
"We found it was those who had been in houses 15 years and wanted a new home, a lot of transfer people and people who want to stay in Howard County, but just a bit farther out."
Cattail Creek, a golf course community, features estate homes at the high end of the real estate market, with 3-acre lots selling for around $200,000 and homes from $500,000 to as much as $2 million. Of the 47 lots available, just a few are undeveloped.
The homes are built along winding roads, backing to woods or the community's 18-hole private, 180-acre golf course straddling Route 97 -- with a tunnel for golfers to cross from one side to the other.
The course, which opened in 1993, was founded by 46 business people who had an interest in golf or belonged to clubs outside of Howard County, said David Carney, a founder and former president.
Like the houses, the golf club is not inexpensive: Members pay $27,500 or more to join, and monthly fees of $250 to $300, according to manager Tom England.
Other communities, including Ellerslie Estates, Countryside, Warfield Estates and Glenwood Spring, were built in the 1970s and 1980s.
Some split-levels in Ellerslie have sold for $220,000, while other styles range upward to the $400,000 range, Kenworthy says.
With development has come the need for more services, traffic control and the upgrading of schools. Howard County purchased a 200-acre parcel in May 1994 at Carrs Mill Road and Route 97 to build a library, fire station, police substation, health facility, recreational park and senior center, all planned for completion by 2000.
In October, parents of students at Bushy Park Elementary and the adjacent Glenwood Middle School along Route 97 implored school Superintendent Michael E. Hickey to ask that the State Highway Administration lower the 45 mph speed limit between Union Chapel and Carrs Mill roads.
Both schools have active PTAs. "We have tremendous support," said Terry Chaconas, the PTA president at Glenwood Middle.
"There are 630 members on the PTA. We have been elated to find that so many people want to sign up. It's a testament to the general caring that these families bring to raising kids."
William Cook sees progress in Glenwood as a quandary of sorts. "It would be great to have something close, like a gourmet Giant," he said. "But after a year, you get the drawbridge mentality. You don't want extensive development. You want to bring the drawbridge up."
Glenwood used to be a sleepy little town. In its 160-year history, the only real hub was the general store/post office. The original owner, James B. Matthews, opened the post office in his store when he was named postmaster in July 1841. He served 40 families, mostly farmers. The town was called Matthews until his son, Lycurgus, came up with the name "Glenwood" in 1874. The establishment was sold in 1918 to R. Guy Pindell, and passed on after his death in 1934 to his sons, daughter and daughter-in-law.
Bill Pindell and his wife, Betty, ran the store until 1976. Mrs. Pindell was postmaster for four decades, and Bill Pindell was Glenwood's unofficial mayor until his death this fall at age 87. A new brick post office was opened next door in 1975, and in 1981 the vacant general store building was purchased by Warren H. Boyer, who moved it across the street.
Boyer, who owns the Glenwood Garden Center, said he decided to purchase the landmark for future generations -- and use it as a sales and store center. "I didn't want to see it torn down; it had been here such a long time," he said.
The 1 1/2 -hour trip across the street took place July 21, 1981. The two-story, weathered clapboard structure, with rustic beams and original wood floor, was lifted from its footings, placed on a flatbed truck and, with power lines raised, made the slow journey across the road and was placed on a new foundation. Boyer had the building turned sideways, fixed the exterior, updated the interior and constructed stairs and a wrap-around porch.
If the walls could talk, they might speak of the Christmas raffle in which 25 to 30 people would vie for a turkey, duck or oysters each year, or of the black laborers who paved Route 97 and lived dormitory-style upstairs -- playing music while shoppers browsed the store below.
The Union Chapel -- on Union Chapel Road -- pre-dates Glenwood. Once an enlistment site for Union troops and home to a Methodist congregation, the old chapel/meetinghouse lacked indoor plumbing and central heat and was abandoned by the 1960s.
The chapel became home in 1980 to a growing St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, which recently completed a 900-square-foot addition.
Glenwood's biggest employer is Trusted Information Systems, established in 1983 by local resident Stephen Walker in his home on Shady Lane. The high-tech computer security company moved in 1985 into an abandoned gas station on Route 97, near the post office, expanded with new construction and property acquisition and now employs 250 people -- half of them in Glenwood. Some of its office space is housed in Wyndhurst, a historic home that belonged to the Pindells.
An addition to the community two years ago was the Howard County Therapeutic Riding Center on Shady Lane, which specializes in riding experiences and lessons for the physically and mentally challenged.
Population: 1,229 (1990 Census)
Commuting time to Baltimore: 45 minutes.
Public schools: Bushy Park Elementary, Glenwood Middle and Glenelg High.
Shopping: Ellicott City, Columbia
Nearest mall: The Mall at Columbia
Points of Interest: Union Chapel, Glenwood Garden Center, Howard County Therapeutic Riding Center.
ZIP code: 21738.
Average sales price of single-family home: $290,000*
*Based on 13 sales through Mid-Atlantic Real Estate Information Technologies' multiple listing service since Jan. 1.
Pub Date: 11/24/96