Far-out rusticity with close-in allure Cub Hill beckons to those longing for 'a spirit of place'


Even before any people arrived, Cub Hill was a family-oriented community.

In 1685, the surveyor of William Burgess' land noted the large numbers of bear cubs roaming the wooded hills, and the area was so named.

Today, Cub Hill remains a family neighborhood. "It's a 'Father Knows Best' kind of neighborhood," said Ron Walker, a veteran real estate agent who has sold many houses in the area for Century 21-Horizon Realty. "Solid middle class with kids," he added.

Cub Hill, considered part of the Parkville-Carney corridor in northeast Baltimore County, is a residential neighborhood of single-family homes ranging in price from $115,000 to $200,000. Typical buyers tend to be second- and third-level purchasers.

"They start with a townhouse or small starter house, then move to a larger detached home, then to an upscale model," noted Jim Swisher, sales manager for the Long and Foster Realty office in the area.

"It's a pocket of exclusivity with the value of the houses continually increasing."

The quiet, rural character of the area draws many people, including businessmen who are transferred to Baltimore. "It could be a town in central Pennsylvania," remarked Walker.

Except for a handful of remaining historic structures, the houses range in style from ranchers to contemporaries and in age from 30 years to brand new. A group of two-story houses was recently built on Placidwoods Court. Although Cub Hill is predominantly an area of single-family houses, there is a mix of housing types, including townhouses and garden apartments. Except for a few stores along Harford Road, the area is completely residential.

The local shopping district is farther south at the junction of Harford and Joppa roads.

The people who live in Cub Hill do all sorts of things for a living. "There's a wide mix of the work force -- engineer, accountant, plumber, contractor," said Don Raymor, head of the Cub Hill Civic Organization, which oversees land use and development in the community. There is also a fair number of retirees who have stayed.

Cub Hill is well placed for commuting purposes. Only minutes away from the Baltimore Beltway, residents can not only get downtown easily but to Towson and Hunt Valley as well.

"It is an alternative to living in the Towson-Lutherville area," said Ron Walker. "You can get to work there very easily from Cub Hill."

"It has a wonderful spirit of place," said Marge Bender, a resident who's lived on Harford Road for 27 years. "A very comfortable place to live, we've made many wonderful friends." Bender, who worked in the local school system, noted that like all good neighborhoods, the strength of Cub Hill is directly related to the quality of its schools.

When residents talk about their neighborhood, the conversation almost always leads to the two elementary schools, Pine Grove and Harford Hills.

Teresa Filbert, principal of Pine Grove Elementary, noted the high level of involvement of parents in the school's educational and fun activities.

"Cub Hill is a close-knit neighborhood where people come back to live. I have parents that attended Pine Grove."

In February, Pine Grove, along with a handful of other county schools, received an award for its score on the MSPAP, the state performance test. The school had the 11th highest composite score among elementary schools in the county.

"Pine Grove pulls the community together. The building is constantly being used for day care, park and recreation activities, and Scout meetings," Filbert added. "We also have some wonderful activities that involve the entire neighborhood, like our new literacy program."

Cub Hill developed along Old Harford Road, which was the main route from Baltimore to Bel Air until the present Harford Road was laid out in 1816.

Some structures from its earlier days remain, such as the Cub Hill House at Old Harford Road and Summit Avenue. Built of local stone in the 18th century, it is a five-bay-wide, two-story Federal-style dwelling.

Krause Park, a 14-acre nature preserve and picnic site run by the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, is a favorite amenity of the community.

It is also the site of an stone lime kiln built into a hillside that is on the Maryland Historic Sites Survey. Limestone was dropped into a top vent of a kiln where it was burned, creating a powdered lime, a key ingredient in bricklaying in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

For outdoor recreational activities, Cub Hill is directly adjacent to Gunpowder Falls State Park, Graham Memorial Park, and Loch Raven Reservoir.

For those interested in the arts, St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church on Cub Hill Road puts on community plays performed by the Suburban Players, which draws a great many people from the Cub Hill area. Its annual festival is also very popular with the neighborhood, according to the Rev. Lou Noplos of St. Demetrious.

"You couldn't find a better or safer place to live than Cub Hill," said Father Noplos. Marge Bender concurred, "We feel we've been very blessed because our kids grew up in this type of atmosphere."

Cub Hill

Population: 8,248 (1997 estimate includes area between Proctor Avenue and Joppa Road)

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 30 minutes

Public schools: Pine Grove Elementary, Harford Hills Elementary, Pine Grove Middle School, Loch Raven High School.

ZIP Code: 21234

Average price of single family home: $124,106*

*Based on 39 sales during the past 12 months by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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