Once called Waltersville, this small residential village in western Baltimore County became so well known for the stone it quarried, its name eventually changed to Granite.
The village of Granite is well preserved, with many houses and structures reminiscent of how the village looked during its quarrying heyday in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1994, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Although Granite's quarries are no longer operational, the stone can be found in area houses, as well as in a number of impressive buildings, including the Library of Congress and the inner walls of the Washington Monument.
"I'll give a tour that will knock your socks off," said Jim Farmer, who serves as treasurer of the Granite Historical Society. "There is more history here and more things to talk about. That's one of the things I like about it."
Nestled along rolling hills and rural roads in Baltimore County, Granite sits in the Woodstock ZIP code along the Howard County line. The historic district stretches along Old Court Road between Granite and Hernwood roads.
"Granite is a community that, once you get here, you really don't want to leave," added Farmer, who grew up in the area and moved back in 1993.
The area's unspoiled nature -- and its proximity to Ellicott City, Baltimore and Owings Mills -- are some of the features that drew Ralph Wright Sr. to the newer development of Edrich Manor, which borders the historic district.
"It's the openness, the tranquillity and the rural environment that exists here," said Wright, who serves as the president of the Greater Patapsco Community Association. "You get a lot of openness."
Housing stock --Granite, both in the historic section and the outskirts, offers a generous mix of housing styles. Many of the houses date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s with historic Victorians, Queen Anne-style houses and four-square houses.
Mixed in with the historic architecture are duplexes, ranchers, bungalows and horse farms. There is also new construction, in developments such as Fields of Harvest, Edrich Manor and Patapsco Valley Preserve.
"It's so picturesque, but yet, it's probably 10 minutes from I-70 and Ellicott City," said Allie Mitchell, a realtor for Long and Foster in Columbia. "It's a little-kept secret. I don't feel it's growing exponentially, and that's part of the appeal."
Mike Gary, with Mohler & Gary Realtors in Howard County, agrees. "The one thing I find people like about the Woodstock/Granite area is the convenience of being so close to the Beltway and all of the services, yet you feel like you're miles out in the country," he says.
Rentals --You won't find apartment buildings or condominiums for rent in Granite. However, an occasional single-family house will come on the market with a monthly price tag of about $2,500.
Kids and schools --The Granite area is divided among three elementary schools: Hernwood, Randallstown and Winfield. All three schools rate well on the Maryland State Assessments for fourth graders. From there, most students will attend the newly opened Windsor Mill Middle School. The high school for area students is Randallstown, which meets the state improvement targets known as Adequate Yearly Progress.
Crime --"All in all, crime is remarkably low in that area," says Bill Toohey, spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department. In fact, Granite has the second-lowest crime rate in the county, according to Toohey. Burglary and theft were the two most reported crimes.
Shopping --There's no shopping in Granite, but it is close to retail stores along the busy Liberty Road corridor and in Ellicott City. The Mall in Columbia, Owings Mills Mall and Security Square Mall also are only a short drive away.
Dining in --Nearby, in Howard County, there is a Weis Market in the Waverly Woods Village Center. Also, there's a Food Lion on Liberty Road and a Giant Food on Milford Mill Road.
Dining out --The closest establishment is the Woodstock Inn, located along the Patapsco River and a favorite with those who come out to hike, bike, canoe and kayak. There are several eateries to choose from in the Waverly Woods Village Center including a Chinese restaurant, a sushi bar, a sandwich shop, a coffee cafe and an Italian restaurant.
Nightlife --The closest establishment for Granite residents is the Woodstock Inn, but many will travel to historic Ellicott City for a night out.
Recreation --Granite residents can walk to Patapsco Valley State Park, which encompasses the Patapsco River. Hiking, biking and horseback riding trails are available, as are opportunities to canoe and kayak.
GRANITE BY THE NUMBERS
Houses on the market:
Average sales price:
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131* *Information based on sales during the past 12 months, complied by Allie Mitchell of Long & Foster Real Estate in Columbia and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.