Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Taking the Back Road

I needed to pick up something from Kohl’s at Long Gate yesterday, so I decided to take the non-highway route which took me over by Route 108 and the new courthouse. Yet again I pondered the many years that went in to rebuilding the structure which now houses a Dunkin/Baskin Robbins and Lakeside Title. I’d love to know why that took so long.

Does anybody have the inside scoop?

At any rate, it occurred to me how silly it is to have a business called Lakeside Title when there is, in fact, no lake nearby. They probably wouldn’t want to change the name of their business since it is well-established. I get that. So I propose building them a lake. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

Looking at their immediate surroundings, the choices are limited. On the one side, Columbia Academy is also a well established business and not likely to make way for a man-made lake. The Wendy's across the way has just been remodeled, so, that’s a no. But what about the Pizza Hut property? That might make a lovely spot for a lake. Or a pond, really. It’s not that large. 

Yes, these thoughts really do go through my head as I drive. No, I am not serious.

Moving on. The next piece of the trip takes you through a neighborhood called Columbia Hills. Columbia Hills is not in Columbia. It’s in Ellicott City. Why? Does anyone out there understand why it’s called Columbia Hills if it’s not in Columbia? 

There are also a few structures that appear to predate the neighborhood. 

Then he swung into the development of Columbia Hills off 29 and past Dower House, built in 1772 by a Dr. Pue who married Mary Dorsey. It was also called Bethesda, Mr. Mullinix added, which meant healer in Hebrew. Its barn is now a church. - - Traveling Back in Time, Ruth Beest, Washington Post, 1985

Image from Wikipedia article on “Bethesda”

Wikipedia informs me that the house itself is called Bethesda. (There is a dower house on the property, though.) I’ve driven by this house many times and wondered what it would be like to live there. You’d never know from looking at the front of the property that the rear faces a highway.

I found this article about the neighborhood in the Baltimore Sun. I’m still trying to work out the title of the piece which is ungainly at best.

Secret garden place fending off sprawl World rapping at door of Columbia Hills- Meadowbrook Farms,  Jill Kubatko,  September 22, 1996 and UPDATED: October 23, 2018.


Columbia Hills may have gotten its name from a post office off Columbia Pike, combined with its rolling hills. It was built in the mid-1950s by the Maryland Housing Corp., preceding by a decade the birth nearby of the planned town of Columbia.

Well, there’s my answer, I guess. The general style of of the homes in Columbia Hills certainly looks to predate Columbia. Meadowbrook Farms is a different kettle of fish and I don’t know much about that. Yet.

True confession: in earlier years I often had Columbia Hills and Allview confused in my head. They were both places we seemed to be passing through on the way to somewhere else. Places I only saw if I were taking the back road.  The homes had a similar feel to me. If I were not married to someone who likes to explore the creative way to get someplace, I wouldn’t have had these experiences.

Never fear, I can tell them apart now. I suppose I need to learn more about Allview next.

Have you ever discovered something interesting in Columbia/HoCo by taking a back road?

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