Former train station could be the ticket

The Baltimore Sun

You can't buy a ticket anymore, but the ticket window from the former Riderwood train station remains in place in the brick building that was transformed from whistle-stop to single-family home decades ago.

The station was built around 1904 by the Northern Central Railroad, after the first station, which was a shed with a one-room station-and-general store, burned down. Passenger service on the two-car Parkton Local between Baltimore and Parkton was dropped in 1959 for lack of riders, and an NCR employee and his wife became the Riderwood station's first private owner residents a few years later.

So spacious is the former waiting room, now a living room, that the widow told The Sun several years ago that her children played basketball in it. The bedrooms accommodated not only the stationmaster, but passengers staying overnight between trains. Nowadays, the Light Rail rumbles behind the high back fence and the current owners have made several renovations.

Sarah Benson and her family bought the place in 2003, doing much of the rehab work themselves as they retained wainscoting, exposed brick walls and thick paneled wood doors on the interior, and preserved the exterior look.

"It's been so much fun," she said. "We're really looking forward to the next project."

About the house --Designed in an arts and crafts style by Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, who also designed the Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania, this is the sole remaining Furness-inspired building in Maryland. It has an overhanging roof made to resemble the original slate. New wood windows copy the old ones.

The Bensons added French doors to the station's former luggage room, now used as a laundry and storage room. The former ticket office has become a study with built-in shelves and a desk.

They also landscaped, adding a koi pond and an above-ground pool that are steps from a brick patio, plus flowering trees and shrubs.

Address --1606 W. Joppa Road, Towson, 21204

Asking price --$569,500

Taxes --$5,836

Size --More than 2,000 square feet, on a 1.58-acre lot. A storage shed and children's play set are on the property.

Features --While the family was able to retain the pine floors and staircase, the living room floor was replaced with a two-zone heated wood-look laminate.

The kitchen has upgraded appliances, a tile floor and tile counters with stainless steel trim. A pass-through to a dining and parlor area doubles as a breakfast bar. Close by, a powder room and a staircase lead to the three bedrooms with double-door closets, and a full bathroom above. The master bedroom features sponge-painted walls and a built-in bureau. The basement has a brick floor. The home is set back from the main road by a long driveway that ends in a loop near the front door. There is no garage, but parking areas can hold up to eight cars.

Listing agent --Dorsey Campbell, Hill & Co., Baltimore, 410-967-3661.

To submit a candidate for Desirable Spaces, send photos and a description of the property to Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, Real Estate Editor, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Questions may be sent to

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