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Carroll community keeps its country looks The children ride horses; adults have Coon Club nearby


There are Charles Street in Baltimore and York Road in Towson, and then there's Coon Club Road in Aspen Run.

Coon Club Road serves as the main thoroughfare for this very quiet neighborhood that's perched on hills on both sides of the road. It's also a reminder of when Carroll County was all farmland and woods.

Its namesake, the Coon Club, is still there and still very active.

"We still do a little hunting on the 60 acres we have, but mainly we shoot clay birds for sport," said Glenn Caples, owner of Caples Concrete Construction and a 30-year member. "The game went away when the area became built up with houses."

The club, founded in the 1920s, holds dances with country western music every Saturday night.

"There's a party we hold every year for the retarded and there's an annual Christmas party for the kids in the neighborhood, too," added Caples.

The 100 paid members (those 65 and older are free) are part of a different era, before Baltimoreans started their move into Carroll County.

"People came out for the lower county taxes and a quiet pace of life," recalled Ellen Vanscoy of Vanscoy Realty, who sold some of the first houses in Aspen Run in the mid-1970s.

Aspen Run was named after the nearby stream that runs between Westminster and Hampstead. The development was the creation of U.S. Army Col. Ralph L. Rigler, who purchased land in Carroll County with the goal of developing it when he retired.

Upon leaving the Army, he set about creating a community on the 750 acres he had accumulated. In the early 1970s, he started building single-family detached homes on lots from 1 to 3 acres.

"The houses sold out in nothing flat," said Vanscoy, who worked for Camelot Realty at the time. Lots that had cost $8,900 were $15,000 two years later, she added. "A lot of buyers came from the Reisterstown area."

Today, the split-levels and split-foyers range in price from $130,000 to $230,000, according to Val Balaz of the Hampstead office of O'Conor Piper & Flynn ERA. From their hilltop sites, the houses have panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Another key feature of Aspen Run is a 10-acre man-made lake that was built when the land was first developed. With development finished by the early 1980s, the setting is overwhelmingly rural, with many of the homes such as Tim Chase's backing up to farmland.

"There's also a conservation area behind us, so development is restricted back there," he said. Chase, a resident for eight years, sold his home only to buy another in Aspen Run. "It's a friendly community, quiet and peaceful but very convenient," Chase said.

"It's great," said Michelle Pasta, a 13-year resident. "You can go shopping at places like the Cranberry Mall in Westminster or go to Hampstead."

Route 30 runs through Hampstead, which is about 10 minutes from Aspen Run and offers a good selection of stores. By going south on 30, residents can get on Interstate 795 and also shop at Owings Mills New Town. "It's convenient to Towson and Hunt Valley, too," Chase remarked.

Dividing line

Aspen Run is a bit unusual in that there isn't a neighborhood association. Residents say it's a friendly community but families keep to themselves. "Still, we've always been there for one another," Pasta said.

"Kids play sports here, at the North Carroll Rec Council or with the Hampstead Lions," Pasta said. But all don't attend the same schools.

In addition to being the neighborhood's main drag, Coon Club Road is the dividing line between Hampstead and Westminster. Children waiting for the bus on the east side of the road attend Hampstead schools, and those on the west side go to Westminster's.

The neighborhood kids have a new-found interest. At the corner of Coon Club Road and Aspen Drive is Aspen Stables, a barn and pasture where horses are boarded.

"Kids love to be around animals, they want to help out even with sweeping the barn," said Dennis Rill, caretaker of the stable.

Rill and his wife, Virginia, let the older children ride if they have their parents' permission. "It's only been open a year, but it's turned out to be a good community project," Rill said.

Aspen Run

Population: 787 (1990 census)

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 30 minutes

Public schools: North Carroll Middle School, North Carroll High School, Hampstead Elementary, Westminster High School, Westminster Elementary

Shopping: Cranberry Mall in Westminster, Route 30 in Hampstead, Owings Mills Mall

ZIP codes: 21157, 21074

PTC Homes on market: none

Average listing price: $150,093*

Average sales price: $145,563*

Average days on market: 227*

Sales price as percentage of listing price: 97%*

* Based on 11 sales in the last 12 months as recorded by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

Pub Date: 12/06/98

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