One of Maryland's Lost Towns, a small Baltimore County mill town that met its fate at the
hands of Progress.
Warren began its life in 1750 when King George III granted a certain Richard Britton land in the Gunpowder Falls Valley (the "Valley of Jehosophat"). The place was sustained by two grist mills, but probably couldn't properly be called a "town" until 1814, when a group of investors leased some of John Merryman's land to build a cotton mill. The investors included James A. Buchanan and a local Revolutionary War hero, General Samuel Smith. It is probably Smith we have to thank for the naming it after another Revolutionary War general, Joseph Warren, who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. If you have read my writeup on Smith's estate Montebello you will recall that Buchanan was embezzling from the Second Bank of the United States at the time; enough to cause a financial panic in 1819. Smith and the other investors were ruined. The Warren mill continued to produce cotton ducking and calico cloth on and off through the booms and busts of the antebellum business cycle, and the company town was a sort of eastern Hell's Half Acre. That is, until Summerfield Baldwin acquired the mill beginning in 1864. The Baldwins, devout Methodists, managed to put the mill and community on a firm footing, building a schoolhouse and forbidding alcohol.
But things were happening downstream. The City of Baltimore put its first dam on Gunpowder Falls for a water supply in the 1870's. Eventually, someone realized that Warren's privies were draining into the City's water supply and began efforts to condemn the town. In the meantime, the City's demands for water grew, and the water department began making plans for a higher dam. A 1908 attempt to secretly buy the mill resulted in a scandal. The full-scale dam had to be put off, and the original 1912 version of the upper dam was only 20 feet above the top of the lower dam.
In 1922, the Baldwins finally accepted $1,000,000 for the mill and srrounding village. Residents were slow to leave, and many were shocked when crews moved in to cut down the trees, demolish the town mill, the churches, the gymnasium, and the century-old stone houses. Soon, the land on which Warren stood was drowned under the rising waters of Loch Raven Reservoir. As recently as the 1950's, some of the town's foundations could be seen poking out of the reservoir during years of severe drought.
Today, an area of southeastern Cockeysville along Warren Road is known as "Warren". A handful of the town's stone houses were moved to the area, but all of the land on which the village sat is now owned by the city, 45 feet under water, or covered by trees. Warren Road now crosses Loch Raven Raservoir on a concrete bridge, changing its name to Merrymans Mill Road on the other side.
Maryland Freestate Treasure Club -- The Treasures of Loch Raven
Treasures of Loch Raven
An aerial view of Warren just before its destruction can be seen at
Baltimore County Public Library -- Baltimore County Legacy Web - W
Wilton L. Howard, "...The Town of Warren Flourished", The Baltimore Sun