Where We Live

A Small Town Few Want to Leave

By Laura Barnhardt Cech
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, July 11, 2009

With a light-rail stop, highway access and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport within its borders, Linthicum is known as a place for coming and going.

But residents like Jo Barker say it's also a hard place to leave.

"Linthicum still has a local bakery and a shoemaker. You can still go into the bank and be recognized," said Barker, who has lived in Linthicum for 53 years and helps organize summer concerts in the park.

Volunteers tend flower beds at intersections in the Northern Anne Arundel County community, which is sometimes called Linthicum Heights.

Although the community is closer to Baltimore than to D.C., public transportation makes commuting to the District an option. Amtrak's train from BWI to Union Station takes about 30 minutes.

The housing stock includes a variety of options, including historic Arts and Crafts bungalows, Tudor- and Colonial-revivals and ranchers built in the 1970s.

The Linthicum Heights Historic District, which includes 254 houses along 17 tree-shaded streets, was recognized in 2006 by the National Park Service and Maryland Historical Trust.

While the historic-district designation does not require residents to seek approval for changes to their homes, the properties are eligible for tax credits for certain improvements.

The historic district title gives the community special standing when federally funded projects, such as airport improvements or road widening, are proposed, said Beth Nowell, a Linthicum resident since 1978 who helped the community gain the historic designation.

"It also gives people bragging rights," she said. "It tends to stabilize housing prices in the historic area. And it cements that sense of community -- a sense of place and time."

Linthicum is not the kind of place that identifies itself by neighborhoods, said Bruce Fink, a real estate agent who has lived there for about 52 years. Some residents might specify that they live in Shipley Estates or Linthicum Oaks, which are clearly identifiable developments. But, Fink said, "even there, when someone asks where you live, you say Linthicum." North Linthicum, though, is considered a separate community.

Prices for single-family homes generally range from $200,000 to $400,000, Fink said. About 40 houses are for sale in the entire Linthicum area, but only a few of them will be available at any one time in the historic district, which is intersected by Camp Meade, Hammonds Ferry and Maple roads.

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