Restoring a classic home

Fick Bros. overcomes challenges to renovate a historic Maryland home

The distinctive community of Guilford, Md., is located a few miles north of Baltimore. It first gained prominence as a property of Gen. William McDonald, who distinguished himself in wars with England. The Guilford area derived its name to commemorate the battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina in which McDonald was wounded.

The property next passed into the possession of John De Speyer, who married McDonald's widow, and in 1872, De Speyer sold it to Arunah Abell, publisher and founder of The Baltimore Sun. It remained in the Abell family until 1907 when it was sold to the Guilford Park Co. The aim of Guilford Park's principal stockholders was to develop the property and land as a whole, using the best modern methods of city planning.

With this purpose in mind, in 1911, the property was consolidated with the Roland Park Co. The 210-acre area became safeguarded under management that restricted land improvements to contributions that greatly added to the attractiveness of the Guilford area.

The landscape design for Guilford was provided by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., reflecting his design principle of respect for existing topography and vegetation. Streets are lined with mature trees, and present-day visitors come to see the world-famous Sherwood Gardens.