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CCBC Campus History: Catonsville Campus

Hilton Heritage

Interview with former resident of the Hilton Center, Alfred Knapp

Books used by Catonsville campus researchers (Dorsey bibliography)

A Brief Campus History

The land on which the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County is located was formerly known as Hilton when it was the estate of the Glenn family and subsequently of the Knapp family. It stemmed from the Dorsey family who owned the Belmont estate in what is now Howard County. Caleb Dorsey Jr. , the builder of Belmont, had also inherited a 511- acre parcel of land from his uncle, Col. Edward Dorsey. This was part of an original land grant to Thomas Taylor in 1679 called "Taylor's Forest," a tract of 1800 acres. Col. Edward Dorsey had bought the 511 acres from Taylor in 1705. The Remaining acres of Taylor's Forest was surveyed for Col. Thomas Taskerranch Co. in 1745 and patented to Charles Carroll in 1752. Part of this is in the area in which the village of Catonsville is located. Caleb Jr., at his death in 1772, willed his acreage to his other son, Samuel Dorsey. However, the Taylor's Forest bequest to Samuel carried the proviso that if he should marry Peggy Spriggs, then the land should go to Samuel's brother, Edward Dorsey. Evidently this concern of Caleb's was founded because in 1785, there is a record of Taylor's Forest being deeded to Samuel's brother Edward. The Taylor's Forest property, later known as Hilton, passed through Dorsey descendants. In 1799, two transactions were recorded: the sale of Taylor's Forest from Edward Dorsey to Arthur Pue to Edward Dorsey. Evidently, the records are not complete because in 1833, Taylor's Forest again was transferred from Lenox Birckhead to Samuel S. Buchanan and again in 1838, another 39.5 acres were conveyed from Birckhead to Buchanan. Also in 1838, Samuel S. Buchanan provided the mortgage for William C. Glenn whose accumulated acreage amounted to 5,000 acres which extended as far as Glen Burnie. The Hilton estate was conveyed June 29, 1842 from William C. Glenn to Judge John Glenn of the District Court (b. 1795- d. 1853) who used it as a summer home and is buried in the front church yard of St. Timothy's Church on Ingleside Ave. Remaining in the Glenn family, the estate was divided in 1907 among six heirs, including Mrs. A.H.R. Randon (nee Lucy Glenn) who owned and resided in the large house with her husband until it as sold on March 10, 1917 to George W. Knapp, a renowned inventor and Baltimore businessman, owner of the National Enameling and Stamping Company. 

Architects designed a new mansion for Mr. Knapp to be built on the foundations of the old Glenn house which was razed in 1917, which was likely built by the Dorsey family. In 1917 the five old stone houses on the estate were redesigned and improved. The stone building known ads the Tudor House was renovated with an additional story.  The Knapp family moved in in 1919.

The Baltimore County board of Education purchased 105 acres, a portion of the estate, in 1962. 


Maryland Historical Magazine

Catonsville room at BCPL Catonsville

The Catonsville Room (in the lower level of the Catonsville Public Library, open Thursday afternoons [2-5] and the first Wednesday of each month [7-8:45]) is the ‘archive’ of the Catonsville Historical Society.