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History

Past, Present & Future

Essex is one of Baltimore County’s first suburbs. Originally granted to five separate gentlemen on five separate plots of ground in the late 1600s, the property was not consolidated until 1908 when Elijah Taylor of Taylor Land Company bought the entire 12,000 acres, which he named Paradise Farms. That property was bounded on the east and west by what are now Mace Avenue and Marlyn Avenue and on the north and south by Stemmers Run Road and Back River.

In 1909, the Taylor family had Paradise Farm resurveyed and broken up into building lots for a new development called Essex, which became known as “The Rising Suburb of the East.”

Essex became well-known when Glenn L. Martin built an airplane factory in Middle River in 1929. In the 1940s, during World War II, thousands of people were employed at Martin’s and Bethlehem Steel, prompting a surge of housing construction, including developments such as Aero Acres, Victory Villa and Stansbury Estates.

Since the 1950s, Essex has experienced steady growth in new housing, which has become increasingly desired by the recreation-minded family. Essex-Middle River and Dundalk are the only waterfront communities in Baltimore County and offer 175 miles of wonderful shoreline.

In 1965, the largely undeveloped northeast corridor was identified by Baltimore County as an ideal site for intensive development, to incorporate a variety of land uses and community services including residential, retail, business and industrial.

In 1969, a planning analysis of regional growth found development potential in the northeast brought about by the construction of I-95. The plan was for a town center in an area created by a triangle of arterial roads. A mall would be at the center. The density of residential and business development would decline as it moved away from the mall. A residential sector was designated to the north, between Silver Spring Road and the planned White Marsh Boulevard. The well-devised strategy is evident today in the prosperity, diversity and general appeal of the Essex-Middle River-White Marsh area, and dramatic improvements continue.

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