Drivers on busy Loch Raven Boulevard may notice the imposing Loch Raven Methodist Church just south of the intersection of Loch Raven and Taylor Road.
But what they may not see beyond the church is the community of Glendale, its entrance almost hidden by its hilly terrain and vanguard of fine, mature trees.
When Glendale's developer, C. Preston Scheffenacher, first saw the area, which had at one time been the Knox Dairy Farm, its gently rolling hills reminded him of Scotland.
So, when excavations began in the 1950s, the developer gave his "glen" a Scottish theme with street names such as St. Andrews Way, Glenkirk, Heather Hill and Highland.
Like Broadway's Brigadoon, Glendale, at first glance, is hard to find. But like the imaginary Scottish town, it's worth discovering.
"We lived just south of here in Idlewylde for 10 years and didn't even know Glendale was here because it was kind of off the beaten path," said Matthew Galla, president of the Glendale community association.
"When we finally found the neighborhood, we saw nice-sized homes and lots with mature landscaping. It was a tranquil, quiet community that looked like a nice place to live."
From a business standpoint and as a 27-year resident of Glendale, Jean Eckhardt, an agent with O'Conor, Piper and Flynn in its Lutherville office, said the area offers some of Towson's best values.
"They have many features buyers are looking for: well-built homes that have been improved with new kitchens and decks; houses that range in size from two to five bedrooms," she said.
"But, the variety of styles does not include the two-story colonial that many younger buyers are looking for."
Even though the community is bordered on the east by Loch Raven Boulevard, on the west by the Country Club of Maryland, on the south by Herring Run and on the north by Goucher Boulevard, Glendale does not have a Towson zip code.
"The one thing that makes sales slow is that, while the community is in Baltimore County, it carries a city zip code, 21239, which does encompass lower-priced housing," Eckhardt said. "If buyers want a house in Towson, they usually look for 21204 and 21286, and possibly 21212."
Glendale and its smaller neighbor, Glenmont, share a community association as well as two large umbrella organizations: the Loch Raven Community Council and the Greater Towson Community Council.
The charm of Glendale sells the community. People who discover its tree-lined streets and houses with brick and stone facades recognize the quality.
"Buyers who end up in Glendale have said to themselves, 'Where can I get a house like this anywhere else?' The answer is they can't," Eckhardt said.
"Glendale always reminds me of a place where the family of 'Leave It to Beaver' would have lived," said Galla. He and his wife, Kelly, have lived in the community for three years.
"In other places, people tend to be closed up," he added, "but here everyone enjoys being neighbors. When you pull into your driveway after work, you might spend 15 or 20 minutes talking to your neighbor before you ever go inside."
Once they move in, people are likely to stay. Ida Herchowski, 94, and her late husband, Walter, bought their lot in 1950, and in May 1951 they moved into the fieldstone house where she lives today with her daughter and son-in-law, Peggy and Roy Kujawa.
"Glendale was convenient to East Baltimore, where we had our bakery business," said Herchow-ski. "This has always been a quiet, settled community with many beautiful houses."
Arthur and Rose Stedman have lived in Glendale for 27 years. "Glendale is so convenient to everything. You can walk to the store, to the bus and go downtown on the bus. My husband, who worked in the Inner Harbor, took the bus to work. It took about 30 minutes. When you don't want to be bothered with a car, it's an advantage to be able to take the bus."
Residents are within walking distance of two grocery stores, a fabric store, a tailor and cleaners, as well as the Greetings and Readings book store. "People come from near and far to shop there," said Rose Stedman. "If you can't find it any other place, you're going to find it there. We really don't have to go anywhere else, but if we want to, we're within five minutes of Towson Market Place, and close to Towson [Town Center]."
The community association is a positive presence in the neighborhood, its welcome committee visiting each new resident, and keeping everyone informed via the community newsletter and Web site. The association also sponsors a raft of neighborhood activities, often in the small community park.
"For a small community, we have a lot of activities," said Rose Stedman.
"People today are so busy with working they don't have time to be social, but we're trying to keep our community together by having these events."
Public schools: Halstead Academy (elementary), Loch Raven Academy (middle), Towson High
Shopping: Loch Raven Plaza, Pleasant Plains, Hillendale and Ravenwood Key
ZIP code: 21239
Average price of a single-family home: $122,000*
* Based on 10 sales in the past 12 months by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.
Pub Date: 12/28/97