Howard/McHenry Mill (18BA100)
The Howard-McHenry Mill Site (18BA100) is the location of a 19th-century mill and tenancy complex located west of
Pikesville and the Gwynns Falls, in Baltimore County, Maryland. Archival research revealed that Howard’s Mill, owned
by Cornelius Howard (Jr.), stood on a parcel resurveyed for Howard in 1793. During the period of Howard’s ownership two
occupants were listed at the mill property (N. Marsh and M. Black). Howard was listed in the 1798 tax list as
owning a 2-story stone mill house and two dwellings. Following Howard’s death in 1844, his estate was divided and the
mill was conveyed to James Howard McHenry the great-nephew of Cornelius Howard. The estate then came to be
called Sudbrook. Sidney’s 1850 map of Baltimore depicted the Howard-McHenry Mill but with only one structure
labeled ‘grist and saw mill.'
An 1856 inventory listed a farm, grist mill, saw mill, a large frame dwelling, a stone barn, other outhouses, and 2
tenant houses on 102 acres. McHenry died in 1888 with no mention of the mill in his will or probate inventory.
A mill ruin photographed in 1908 was identified as “Mill on Gwynns Falls near Pikesville.” The Howard-McHenry Mill
parcel passed through a number of owners before the State of Maryland purchased the parcel in the late 1950s for
highway development. During the late 1950s and 1960s, construction for the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) and
the relocation of Old Court Road resulted in disturbance to the site.
The site was first identified in 1973 during a survey of the Northwest Transportation Corridor. In 1981 and
1982, the Maryland Geological Survey, Division of Archaeology undertook Phase II testing at 18BA100, excavating
334 shovel test pits. A minimum estimate of 4,007 historic period artifacts was collected from the
An assessment of the ceramic sherds collected from the 344 STPs indicated that the mill tenants were over a
lower-wealth economic status. Internal comparison between the earlier and later ceramic samples further suggested
that the mill tenants lost economic ground through time. This change may have reflected economic conditions throughout
the milling profession or it may have reflected a shift that occurred when the mill was shut down in
the 1870s. The houses that the tenants occupied were likely small, vernacular frame structures. Within the
context of 19th century flour milling in the Baltimore area, the Howard-McHenry Mill was a small local
enterprise grinding wheat for a fee. It was typical of the small mills that ground flour for local consumption.
The Howard-McHenry Mill Site (18BA100), also known as the Old Court Road site, is the location of a 19th century mill
and tenancy complex. Phase II excavations at Site 18BA100 revealed five apparent structures within the site area: a probable
house with cellar hole and associated dairy in Area I, a possible domestic structure in Area II, what appears to be
the mill in Areas III and IV (the mill would have been located in the depression), and a barn or stable in
Area V. The historical significance of the site comes from its representation of the economic conditions of the
tenant millers in residence there. Given the limited number of grist mill sites in Baltimore County that have
been either identified or systematically studied, Site 18BA100 does represent a relatively scarce resource. No
intensive occupation of the site occurred after ca. 1880 when it was abandoned.
Historical Trust Synthesis Project)